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Health care cover up is worse than the crime

Lucius Gantt

Lucius Gantt

The Gantt Report

If you read the title of this editorial you might think this column is about the Conrad Murray-Michael Jackson debacle that was front page and top story lead on almost every newspaper, magazine or broadcast news show.

But it is not.

If you have money, you can get a lawyer to represent you or your loved one in any legal proceeding but if you’re broke, you’re only innocent until your poverty is confirmed.

There are many health care providers that give their patients excellent care but some of the health care providers are devils dipped in chocolate!

I hate to write this but it is true!

I hate to write this column because the caring Black health care providers that love their patients and love their professions have saved my life, so to speak, on more than one occasion.

One could say that good Black doctors and good Black health care providers have also been instrumental in my own professional career.

You see, some people refer to me as Florida’s first Black independent lobbyist. But I was always proudest of being referred to as the Black health care lobbyist.

I lobbied for 15 or 20 years for the Florida Medical Association and the Florida League of Hospitals. My favorite client, however, was the Florida Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association, the organization of the state’s Black health care professionals.

It was Lucius Gantt that spoke up for Black doctors and other providers when Florida legislators discussed issues like tort reform or healthy kids or indigent care.

It was Lucius Gantt that traveled to and spoke about legislation at many, many Black health care conferences and conventions all over the world.

And, in the past, when I needed help, Florida’s Black doctors stood up and helped me. Dr. Collins of Orlando rushed me to a hospital in Orlando to treat me for chest pains and very high blood pressure. Doctors McIntosh and Dawkins helped me and counseled me on health issues in Jacksonville. Doctor Cosby in Gainesville supported me in helping Black doctors with legislative issues. Doctor “Doc” Roberts supported me and Dr. Hollifield stood with me when I addressed health and other community issues in Tallahassee.

And, Dr. Jackson, and especially Dr. Esias Lee assisted me in my worst health moments before and after suffering a catastrophic medical condition in 2002.

But the Black doctors of old are nothing like the new doctors.
The new doctors don’t want to be active members of Black health care organizations, many of them don’t care about the health care of their Black patients and a lot of them don’t even care about their fellow Black health care providers!

Don’t take my word for any of this. Talk to the Black health care specialists that complain that Black family doctors won’t refer their patients to the Black specialists. Talk to the Black health care providers that complain that other Blacks in the profession refuse to unite and combine their talent, skills and resources to compete with the white HMOs, PPOs and other provider groups.

Talk to the Black doctors that complain that other Black health care professionals don’t want to see one Black doctor be successful or make more money than another!

Now, what angers me, is today’s Black health care “code of silence”! Even though they sometimes don’t help each other or don’t like each other, today’s Black doctors prefer to turn their heads when Black patients, by design or coincidence, become victims of mistreatment or malpractice!

Health care providers, just like everybody else, make mistakes sometimes. That is understandable. But, most mistakes can be corrected, most mistakes can be mitigated.

When Black health care providers make mistakes in the delivery of health care to poor people that can’t afford a trial lawyer and the other health care providers that are aware of the mistakes try to help the doctors that they don’t even like cover up the mistakes, to me, they become health care criminals and health traitors to their race!

When you visit many privately ran health care facilities in the Black community it won’t take you long to see and feel that the care is oftentimes not about the patients, it is all about the money.

The good Black clinics and health centers do a great job but the greedy and devilish facilities in the Black community schedule four or five patients for doctor visits at the same time so you always have to wait an hour or more in a waiting room before you can be seen. A bad Black community health facility will allow untrained nurses, doctors and other providers to see you and treat you. They may weigh you on un-calibrated scales, they may take your blood pressure with your winter coat on or talk incessantly while your blood pressure is being measured just to rush you in and out of the office.

The worst thing that devilish Black doctors will do is not talk to you about your care!

If you are being treated at a facility where you are discouraged from or unable to discuss your health status with a doctor that you are paying, leave that facility immediately! If your request to see your medical records is refused by the facilities directors and managers, leave that facility.

If your doctor is a devil that refuses to refer you to a needed specialist for a colonostomy or other procedure when you need care that the community health center can’t provide, leave that
acility.

I truly love the doctors that love their patients and the doctors that love me. I hate the few doctors that love their jobs more than they love the people they took an oath to care for.

I hate the doctors that would prefer to cover up a medical mistake than work together with their long-time patients to address or correct any health care mistakes or misunderstandings.

All my good doctor friends, “Doc up”, so to speak. and help the Black community patients that need your health care help!

If your doctor won’t tell you about the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) or other regulatory agencies that takes complaints about mistreatment or malpractice by health care providers, contact me and I’ll tell you.

Black health care crimes committed by colored physicians with a stethoscope and a white jacket must be stopped and the good Black doctors that love their patients must be supported and patronized!

Remember, the health care cover-up is worse than the health care crime!

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