While most doctors do their best when it comes to patient care, there are unfortunately times when patients are doubted and ignored by their medical care providers during very real moments of pain — and it happens disproportionately to people of color. A California doctor was recently suspended after she mocked a black patient who was reportedly having a panic attack.
According to ABC News, on June 11th, 20-year-old Samuel Bardwell was rushed to El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, California when a reported anxiety attack caused him to pass out after basketball practice. However, the emergency room doctor then belittled, questioned, and even swore at Samuel — which his father, Donald, caught on video and posted to Facebook on June 12th.
In the now-viral video, Dr. Beth Keegstra is seen saying, “he’s completely awake and alert right now,” despite Samuel’s father telling her that his son had vomited and gone in and out of consciousness shortly before. She then demands that Bardwell sit up, pulling on his arms. When the patient says he can’t, she shows a disturbing lack of empathy.
When Bardwell asks for a pain reliever and anxiety medication, Keegstra accusingly asked, “So you need narcotics?” Later, she even swears at him, saying, “You’re full of sh*t.”
The video has been viewed more than 4.5 million times as of June 18th. In his accompanying post, Samuel’s father wrote, “This is how they treat black people in the Los Gatos emergency room.”
Watch the disturbing video below.
Donald told SFGate.com that his son has taken Klonopin — a sedative used to treat seizures, anxiety, and panic disorders — but that he hadn’t been able to access the medication in the days before the panic attack.
On June 14th, El Camino Hospital CEO Dan Woods issued a statement about the incident.
This California doctor’s behavior was unacceptable, and we hope El Camino Hospital takes appropriate action. Every patient deserves to be heard and respected.