The Ebola virus hitting the United States is scary enough, but what about adding in race and how it affects your treatment and potential ability to survive to the conversation?
Thomas Eric Duncan died of the Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas just a few short days ago. Duncan was treated with an experimental antiviral drug called brincidofovir, which recently gained emergency approval from the FDA. Duncan was Black. U.S. missionaries Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly were both miraculously cured after being given another experimental drug ZMapp. Both walked out of the hospital with a clean bill of health. Dr. Brantly is White and Writebol’s nationality is unreported as she didn’t want to make an public appearances.
Both missionaries were covered under health insurance plans. Duncan didn’t have insurance. Duncan however, had no insurance and the way his death is being reported sickens me. He’s become a hefty price tag. The Christian Post is reporting that Duncan’s the nine-day treatment at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday cost the hospital an estimated $500,000 and Duncan had no insurance to help cover the cost. We all know the disparaging thin line between race and economy. 17.8 percent of Black people under 60 don’t have insurance. 9.9 percent of Whites don’t have insurance. There’s an obvious lack of healthcare in the Black community. So you have to wonder was Duncan’s Ebola treated differently from Dr. Branley and Writepole’s because he was Black?
It’s being reported that: “There’s no evidence that Duncan was not given the drug because of race. The hospital’s claim that it had no supply of the drug on hand or any prospect of getting it in time to save his life rings true.”
Dallas County commissioner John Wiley Price (who is Black) told a court meeting that “if a person who looks like me shows up without any insurance, they don’t get the same treatment … It’s historically what has happened in this community.”
The hospital released a statement Thursday to correct any misconceptions about Duncan’s hospital visit. “Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given [to] any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. In this case that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area.”
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that sound like the whole–“I love Black people. My maid is Black!” defense?l Let us never forget the sheer crime of the evil neglect of the health needs of Black soldiers during the Tuskegee experiment in 1923. It was called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” Black men were purposely allowed to live with syphilis for 40 years without any treatment so that their bodies could be studied while being ravaged by the vicious disease.
Of course with both men suffering from Ebola and the survivor being White and the man who lost his life being Black, one can’t help but think there’s a big racial divide. While West Africa hasn’t been neglected (President Obama sent troops and aid), but you should think twice about who survives and succumbs to Ebola.
What do you think beauties? Sound off in the comments below!
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