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May 18, 2005

ARCHIVE: Discrimination


TATE: Ladies and gentlemen, those of us who are black physicians have spent a large part of our life learning our craft. We are as good as or better than many of the people who you see here in this city and there are some things that we are not going to tolerate.

PLASKON: UMC Trauma Physician James Tate addressed two-dozen patients and physicians in front of UMC. He was once accused of making another doctors' mistakes at UMC, but when a peer review board tried to remove him he sued and depositions revealed that he was not at fault. He says he's seen black doctors run out of Las Vegas time after time under similar accusations.

TATE: It has taken us a while to get together and realize that black physicians who are coming under attack are not alone. There are a whole bunch of folks that have come under attack and we are not alone.

PLASKON: At the press conference he asked others to step forward with their stories. Karen Dode is a rehabilitation physician who treats disabled patients and was recently turned away.

DODE: My group has been excluded from this even though we have been providing this service for greater than six years at Sunrise Hospital we have come under progressive discrimination and harassment.

PLASKON: The discrimination is having a clear effect she says.

DODE: And these kinds of actions they increase the cost of medicine to the public, they decrease the quality and decrease the access and it is something that is happening across the country.

PLASKON: Another person at the press conference stepped forward and threw up his shirt revealing bulbous scars on his chest.

FLOYD: Look at this, see these marks, every time I got a little infection they made me get a new catheter.

PLASKON: Kieth Floyd complains about terrible service he received as a black patient at hospitals.

FLOYD: I know a lot of us have had 'em, speak up. They ain't just looking at black, they looking at Mexicans they looking at lower class white people the same way they look at us if you are not at the top level you ain't nothing, this is the richest country, and still people are dieing because they can't afford health Insurance.

PLASKON: Floyd praised his new doctor Cyril Ovuworie for finding antibiotics to prevent infections in his chest cathaders. Ovuwori operates a dialysis clinic. When Ovuwori stood up to speak the crowd cheered. He said his success as a black man has turned the medical community against him.

OVUWORI: If it is not the DA or the FBI, then it is the Health Department , they are on me every day, it is like the mafia.

PLASKON: He blames hospital staff at UMC for prompting a US Attorney's Office investigation in which he was subsequently accused of over-charging Medicare 36-thousand dollars. He's refusing to pay saying he's done nothing wrong. Dozens of physicians will meet this month to file a class action lawsuit against UMC and Sunrise Hospital alleging that black physicians are treated differently than white ones. UMC wouldn't comment pending the litigation. Health Care Services Coalition spokesperson called the accusations surprising and Councilwoman Yvonne Atkinson Gates who sits on UMC's governing board hadn't heard of the accusations.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

See discussion rules.


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