"As a medical student, I never imagined that I would be actively contributing to an institution of racism."


In answer to the Day 6 Question “Why Can’t We Just Ignore Racial Differences Already?”

my first clinical rotation of my third year was medicine. I was filled with energy and optimism. My school is located on the cusp of social economic disadvantaged urban center. So of course most  of my patients are black, hispanic, or asians who often don’t speak english. The current two tiered health care system ensures that patients admitted to hospitals get a basic level of healthcare. But because Medicaid only pays a percentage of the bill issued by hospital, every day a patient is in the hospital we are losing money. To recoup cost, new hospital policies reward residents who push patients out the door quicker. Not all patients released, have adequate medical follow to address their acute and long term needs. Some are discharged to early, and then cycle back into the system only days sometimes hours later to be readmitted for an issue conveniently overlooked in their charting.

This heartless, but economic necessity, given the high frequency of hospital collapse and closure, doesn’t lessen the blow. As a medical student, I never imagined that I would be actively contributing to an institution of racism. 

Race matters. My decisions my perspective are shaped by my life experiences. I am black in a country where people that looked like I do were often disregarded and dehumanized. I have experienced discrimination first hand; and that changes a person. Not everyone that is discriminated against can turn around and just pick up the torch of apathy and do the same to someone else.  

Ultimately, the internal conflict and external conflict with my team was too great for me to bear, I will not be going into internal medicine. My conscience  couldn’t survive it.  My race colored glasses, will never allow me to see people as statistics.