Guest post by John Hughes
Last week I treated a minority female patient in the Emergency Room I work in. She had been seen by her obstetrician in a nearby liberal town that morning and the clinic ultrasound revealed that the 8 week old fetus no longer had a heartbeat, indicating that she had likely suffered a spontaneous miscarriage. She was released from the OB clinic without a plan. Later that day, she ended up in a different city (much more conservative) in our ER, anxiously looking for a solution. I confirmed that a miscarriage had indeed taken place. In the middle of the night it is usually difficult to arrange follow-up for an OB patient from an ER, especially if she has never been seen in a particular practice. I am a white doctor and was able to arrange next day care for the minority patient with another white doctor (OB specialist) and in doing so relieved much of the patient’s anxiety.
As I hung up the phone after speaking to the specialty consultant I reflected on what had just happened. As an ER physician and US Doctor, I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and American Medical Association (AMA). ACEP represents nearly 40,000 US ER physicians and the AMA represents over 200,000 US physicians. Both organizations bombard members with information about racial injustice in the US and in medicine. From the AMA’s home screen menu as of 25 JUL 2022, a tab for ‘Health Equity’ brings up a list of educational videos for doctors, the first one being ‘Prioritizing Equity video series: Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Intersectionality’ with the following description: ‘In this AMA’s Prioritizing Equity series panel, leaders discuss critical race theory and its applications to the field of health equity.’ Similarly, ACEP has a newsletter called ACEP NOW which calls itself the ‘The Official Voice of Emergency Medicine.’ A regular column is called the ‘Equity Equation.’ Recent topics include ‘Addressing Bias, Racism, and Disparities in the Emergency Department,’ ‘Moving from Race-Based to Race-Conscious Care’ and ‘To all People Staying Neutral About Black Lives Matter.’ The latter talked about ‘white America’ and ‘oppressors.’ Literature such as this has been circulating in both communities with increasing frequency for several years. I have not seen any articles or internal committees challenge this prevailing belief system for over 2 years. Worse, moderators on the websites of both organizations work to suppress opposition to this biased political belief system.
Colleagues I work with in ERs take care of patients of different ethnicities every day and we all provide the same standard and quality of care that we do for patients of our own race. This was not an unusual event, but the media and US medical organizations would lead you to believe that it was in fact an aberration. Like most doctors, I swore to execute the Hippocratic Oath. We don’t commit microaggressions against our minority patients and certainly don’t walk around with subconscious racial bias. We treat patients fairly regardless of their race. Critical Race Theory in medicine generates friction itself amongst providers and more importantly between providers and their patients. Taking it an easy step further, it is fair to say that CRT is meddling in the sacred doctor-patient relationship. The woke ideology infecting US medicine must be continually challenged. The health of America is at stake.
John Hughes, MD
USMA Class of 1996 (#1 graduate)
3rd Generation West Pointer
4 combat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan