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May-17-2018 00:50printcommentsVideo

Medical Racism Feared Behind Diagnosis Negligence

Mr. Coleman was diagnosed with Diabetes and liver failure in 2010, but deprived of that information for four and a half years.

William Coleman
William Coleman, looking for justice.
Photo by Dexter Phoenix,

(SALEM, Ore.) - It is a massive problem nationwide. Results from tests and lab work performed by doctors in medical facilities, often revealing dangerous, even deadly illness and disease, are not shared with the patient.

William Coleman

Add to that, the established problems and patterns regarding medical racism in the US, and you find a serious issue that leads to premature death and unwarranted, preventable suffering, particularly for people of color.

African-Americans receive a lower degree of care in America, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center School of Medicine.

One Salem, Oregon man who won't disagree with that finding is William Coleman, a former prison guard and Whistleblower, who was diagnosed with both diabetes and liver failure in early 2010, only to spend the next four and a half years in the dark, totally unaware of the serious diagnosis which doctors at Salem Hospital neglected to share with him.

In July, 2014, a doctor at Salem Hospital's emergency room asked Mr. Coleman how he was treating his diabetes. Mr. Coleman says he told the doctor that he must have him mixed up with another patient, but the doctor assured him that he had been suffering with diabetes for several years, according to his medical charts.

In fact William Coleman had a blood glucose level of nearly 400, and other tests indicated that his blood sugar levels were three times the acceptable level. Along with this, he learned that he was suffering from liver failure. During the four and a half years he was untreated for this ailments, Mr. Coleman's health deteriorated.

Diagnosed only with heart failure in 2010, William Coleman, who is 51, had all sorts of additional health problems for the next four and a half years. He lived completely in the dark about his condition, having faith that any serious medical problems doctors at Salem Hospital had noted, would have been brought to his attention.

Spiraling downward health-wise, in intense pain and always short of breath, he questioned why his 80-year old neighbors, who also had heart failure, seemed spry in comparison. All along, during the four and a half year period, his condition worsened. Due to the untreated diabetes, he was retaining massive amounts of water.

40 pounds of water were drained from his body late in 2014 at Salem Hospital, and 64 pounds were drained during an emergency visit to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) a few weeks later. The water retention caused Mr. Coleman to suffer edema, and at one point his legs were as hard as wood. He had to sit up on his couch to sleep and rarely got 20 uninterrupted minutes.

When Mr. Coleman discovered that he had not been informed of his diagnosis, he brought the matter to the attention of the Oregon Medical Board, which did not launch an adequate investigation or pursue the matter whatsoever.

The next thing that happened, was Mr. Coleman's healthcare provider, Salem Clinic P.C., sending a letter to Mr. Coleman asking him to "immediately" seek the care of other providers, banning him from visiting any of the Salem Clinic facilities.

After that, the head of a Diabetes support group sent Mr. Coleman a letter advising that after looking into his case, there was nothing they could do for him.

He tried to bring a legal case forward, but could not find an attorney willing to represent him, and the statute of limitations lapsed. The laws are all in place to protect the doctors, the medical board, highly controversial for numerous reasons, has targeted doctors in the past and even removed their right to practice over trivial matters, but for Mr. Coleman, they essentially said, we aren't going to help you, hit the road.

History of Poor Health Treatment for Blacks in America

According to a paper published by Research Gate, "Unconscious" Racial Bias Among Doctors Linked To Poor Communication With Patients, Dissatisfaction With Care, the problem is significant, "There is a well-documented legacy of racial discrimination toward African Americans in medical research and clinical settings.

"Perhaps most notably, the 1932 U.S. Public Health Service Tuskegee Syphilis Study on Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, in which federally funded investigators withheld available treatment from African American men with syphilis, serves as a striking example of this legacy."

It seems Mr. Coleman is one person on a long list who has been wronged by a system of healthcare that does not practice racial equity, and rarely, if ever, has systems in place to assure that racial and cultural equality is incorporated into treatment practices.

First, physicians kept their lips sealed about his diabetes and his kidney failure for four and a half years. This, even though it was noted in his medical records in 2010, that Mr. Coleman has diabetes and should be prescribed metformin as a treatment. First the silence game from Salem Hospital, and then every medical facility turned against him.

This is where the story gets very shady

William Coleman is a noted Salem, Oregon Whistleblower who filed a federal "Whistleblower" claim while trying to bring awareness to massive racism and hate crimes he noted and observed as a corrections officer at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

State officials retaliated against him by arresting Mr. Coleman on what turned out to be a trumped up case, on 40 counts of "contraband smuggling" --- one of the very problems he was trying to direct attention to with the federal Whistleblower claim.

After the District Attorney's office of Marion County, Oregon decided to spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars trying to convict him, William Coleman, with the help of a single witness, a Black inmate he oversaw as a prison guard named Terrence Kimble, Coleman was found not guilty by a jury and acquitted of all charges.

His acquittal proved that the case was a sham; a disingenuous attempt by state and county officials to discredit a man who put his life on the line and suffered heavily, trying to make Oregon prisons a better and more legal place, rather than the racist dens they are, where racist White cops and racist White inmates absolutely run the program.

Oregon prisons even play movies that satiate the racists' needs, such as the movie about Hitler, called Downfall, which portrays Nazi's as the good guys. The upper management at the prison has had a history of extremely corrupt and illegal behavior, dating back to the Murder of former Oregon Corrections Director, Michael Francke, in 1989.

Francke was killed just a day before he was going to release the results of a year-long investigation into official corruption involving high-level Oregon state and Marion County officials, many are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who worked vigorously against William Coleman during his attempt to expose what was happening.

In the fabricated criminal case against Mr. Coleman, and in an effort to ensure no law suits filed by Mr. Coleman would go his way, agencies from Oregon Dept of Corrections, to the Oregon State Police, the Statesman Journal newspaper, The Oregonian, the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Salem Police, the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the state Attorney General's Office and the Marion County District Attorney all collaborated against him, and all of it was illegal or in the case of media, highly unethical, but then this is Oregon.

So why would anyone assume Salem Hospital and Mr. Coleman's physicians at Salem Clinic P.C. might not also possibly be involved in an official web of deceit?

It may take a village to raise a child, but a network is required for enforcing institutional racism, and one is firmly in place in Salem, Oregon and has been for a very long time.

Keeping Black people down and unable to find adequate representation, sending Salem Police to shadow the NAACP meetings that take place here, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

The fact that this practice was extended to the medical world is unfathomable, but then there are reasons that Salem, Oregon doesn't have Black doctors, or police officers, or city council members, and that African-American are almost entirely unrepresented in all law enforcement roles and city and county positions.

That's how the White people of Salem who run things, have arranged things, and while the problem may be more intense here, it is one that people of color face all over the nation.

In an article titled, Racism and discrimination in health care: Providers and patients, Monique Tello, M.D. M.P.H. of the Harvard Medical School, wrote, "It is well-established that blacks and other minority groups in the U.S. experience more illness, worse outcomes, and premature death compared with whites.

"These health disparities were first 'officially' noted back in the 1980s, and though a concerted effort by government agencies resulted in some improvement, the most recent report shows ongoing differences by race and ethnicity for all measures."

Unconscious Bias

Some in the medical community, believe that the racial disparity doled out by White practitioners is more subconscious than conscious. Few people are not exposed to at least some degree of racism in their lifetimes, in fact, in a study published in a March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers learned that two-thirds of physicians had an “unconscious” racial bias toward patients.

"When those biases were present, researchers found that doctors tended to dominate conversations with African-American patients, pay less attention to their personal and psychosocial needs and make patients feel less involved in making decisions about their health."

“It’s been really extensively shown that minorities don’t receive the same quality of health care as whites in the United States,” said Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

“I’ve been interested in the extent to which that is accounted for by the fact that a lot of minorities see physicians who are different from them culturally and racially, and that there might be some problems with cultural misunderstandings or miscommunication.”

The saga of William Coleman is a frustrating matter for those of us who have watched him battle the state of Oregon. It goes far beyond what is referenced here, Oregon is a problematic state that does not endeavor to make things better for minorities.

This article is not a written version of the video, please watch it in its entirety and call the numbers at the end of the video.

Ask the Oregon Medical Board if they really don't respond to individual cases, ask Salem Clinic P.C. if they have specific rules for dismissing Black people from health care, ask Peter Courtney's office if he was elected to only represent "some of the" people.


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