Tag Archives: racism

Eric Duncan uninsured

Eric Duncan Uninsured Ebola Patient

Thomas Eric Duncan went to the hospital seeking care for a deadly, and highly contagious, disease. The hospital staff saw his race and his lack of insurance and sent him home. Eric Duncan uninsured Ebola patient, died. Now Ebola virus is spreading in the United States.

Eric Duncan Uninsured and Black with Ebola

Thomas Eric Duncan, whom friends called Eric, was a Liberian immigrant to the United States. After a recent visit to his Ebola-stricken home country, Eric came back home to America and fell sick. He must have been relieved to be covered by the world’s greatest medical system. But, tragically, unlike the other white, wealthy, insured Ebola patients who recovered in America, Eric Duncan was uninsured, so he faced closed medical doors and ultimately death in America.

This NBC-5 Dallas Fort Worth article outlines the timeline of Eric’s treatment.

It is tragic to me that Duncan is the only patient who has died of Ebola in the United States, and he is the only black patient. All the white patients received a higher standard of care. They were all hospitalized and isolated at first sign of Ebola. They all received medication, including cutting edge, experimental drugs, early in the disease process. They received blood transfusions. They all had treatments delayed or denied to Eric Duncan.

All the white patients recovered. Eric died. Racism? Not overtly, but probably a subliminal devaluing of black life versus white life. Beyond racism, though, I think there is a much clearer explanation why Duncan was not treated in a timely manner.

Thomas Eric Duncan was uninsured in America.

I have written about my personal experience of breaking my ankle while uninsured. It was horrible, but nothing compared to the hell Duncan went through. Because of his suffering, he is now a martyr at Gods’s throne, crying out for holy justice in the United States.

Standard of Care Different for the Uninsured

According to this Forbes Magazine Article, one quarter of all Texans are uninsured. These patients face closed doors and grim medical outcomes. Texas, like too many other states, has refused to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

When Eric Duncan showed up at the Dallas hospital, the first thing nurses would have done is ask for proof of insurance. That would determine the standard of care. Imagine the scene. The nurse looks at Eric’s chart before she steps in the room.

“Uninsured.” Big strike one.

She knows he must be poor. Strike two.

She opens the door and sees Eric. Black. Strike three.

Course of action: Stabilize and release. Quickly. Efficiently. Cheaply.

She takes his temperature. Fever: high 101. She asks about his pain. Pain: high 8/10

She writes that in the chart. He says he recently came from West Africa, but she may think that is irrelevant. Stories are still conflicted whether that was written in the chart.

The doctor comes in. He knows the patient is uninsured, therefore he knows to stabilize and release. Quickly. Efficiently. Cheaply. He declares sinusitis and sends Eric home with an antibiotic.

I’m not making assumptions about the character of the doctors and nurses. Perhaps they were kind or concerned. Almost certainly they were white and from a background of privilege that would influence how they view a poor black immigrant. Even if they were not personally racist, I’m sure they assumed that he could not afford the medical bill. Whatever their personal view on insurance, they followed hospital and Texas state protocol on treating the uninsured. Stabilize and release quickly and cheaply as possible.

Uninsured Ebola Patient Dies and Disease Spreads

Two days later, Eric goes back in an ambulance with a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea. Deathly ill. Highly contagious.

He languishes in the hospital while there are delays in testing his blood, delays in treatment. There is a supposed shortage in experimental drugs. Who knows if this is true. Uninsured patients are not profitable for pharmaceutical companies and expensive drugs.

Three excruciating days later, Eric Duncan dies. His soul flies to the heavenly dimension. There is no requirement for insurance in heaven, and he is attended by the highest healing touch of the angels. His family mourns on earth and joins him in pleading with God for justice.

Holy justice.

Now we see the dread disease spreading in Dallas. One nurse, Nina Phan, is already in isolation with Ebola. She is insured and receiving the highest standard of treatment. The state is even taking care of her dog, for fear the dog might be an Ebola carrier.

The dog is being treated at a higher standard of care than Eric Duncan was. Only in America is a dog’s life valued more than an uninsured man, a black man.

Today there was news that another nurse has tested positive for Ebola, and she recently took a plane flight between Dallas and Cleveland. Every passenger on that plane was exposed, possibly spreading the disease all over the United States.

This is tragic, frightening, and just. This is holy justice. Because America has refused to offer medical care to the uninsured as a human right, the country is reaping the consequences of its heartlessness. A contagious disease is a natural consequence of refusing to treat people. Eric Duncan is a martyr, but hopefully his blood is not in vain. There is still time to repent and change our ways. We can stop this disease if we throw open the hospital doors to anyone needing treatment. Love and compassion will conquer pain and disease.

I pray our nation wakes up. Rest in peace, Eric Duncan. You are no longer uninsured and facing the heartlessness of a system set up against the poor. Enjoy heaven.

karley buckland, Martin Luther King portrait

Karley Buckland – The Truth

In just a few days, we will celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and his dream that one day children of all colors will hold hands in love and in the march for freedom. When will we ever reach that point? The recent news of the Karley Buckland incident shows how much more work we have to do on the issues of racism in Portland and the whole United States.

The Oregonian: Trimet Beating of 14-year-old

Karley Buckland, a white teenager. was recently beaten and injured by a couple of black teenagers as she boarded a Max train by the Clackamas mall. This is a sad story, but it is far more complicated than the media narrative of innocent little white kid beat up by gangster black thugs.

Portland Racism

Portland is the most racist place in which I have ever lived (and I have lived all over the United States). Nobody questions this story, instead they make racist comment after racist comment on OregonLive and other online news sources. They say these black girls are “animals” who just starting beating on Karley Buckland without any provocation.

Really? How many times have you seen anyone just start walloping another person out of the blue, with no provocation? I have never seen this. But, you, Portland, go ahead and just keep sticking your heads in the sand. Keep calling this is a black “hate crime.” You don’t understand.

Karley Buckland and Middle School Politics

I can tell you what happened. It’s the same thing that happens every day in every American middle school and high school. Karley was a bully.

Karley Buckland probably never laid a hand on anyone, but she used her white privilege to look down on her minority classmates and enemies. She spread rumors and vicious lies about them, about their boyfriends, their love interests. Schools do precious little to stop this emotional bullying, especially when white kids do it to students of color.

The article states that Karley Buckland sings in the choir, plays sports, and is on student council. All of these activities require money. Also, her family seemed to have enough money to immediately hire a private lawyer. Money comes from privilege.

Karley Buckland obviously has access to resources which some of her classmates can only dream about. Certainly Rakeshia Burns (one of her black attackers) does not come from a family that can support sports and singing. She is probably fighting to barely survive, like most black people in Portland.

Of course, Rakeshia and her sisters should not have reacted in such violence, it is wrong to cause physical harm to another, and they are paying for it legally. But how many weeks, months, years, did Rakeshia have to listen to Karley Buckland, and all the other white Karleys and Karls of her school, flaunt white privilege and say nasty comments before Rakeshia snapped? What did Karley say to her that day on the Max that was the last straw?

The Cover-Up

Of course, we may never know the truth. Whoever took the video obviously edited it to make Karley Buckland look completely innocent. Where is the footage from the beginning of the fight? What was said before fists started flying? And who took that video? Was it one of Karley’s friends, hoping for their five minutes of fame as well?

Why did nobody intervene? And why is the Trimet footage conveniently damaged? One media report did state that the first Trimet officer who responded to the scene said that Karley instigated the fight. He later retracted his statement, probably under pressure.

Karley Buckland claims to not know the suspects, but it was her own classmates at Centennial Middle School that identified the suspects to police. Therefore, these were neighborhood kids, and almost certainly Karley’s classmates.

Karley is lying. Karley’s family is gun-ho on sending these black kids to jail, but in the end, the Bucklands will be ultimately responsible for destroying lives and furthering the cruel sting of racism in Portland