I didn’t know where else to turn to have someone listen to me and take me seriously.
Community Voices

Preconceived ideas of Black pain sufferers

In 2018 I cane to MSK hoping to be specifically treated by them for colorectal Cancer which I had been diagnosed with four years earlier. I met my Oncologist, my surgeon, and my PAIN doctor, Grant Hong Chen. From the onset of our doctor/patient relationship, I noticed that whenever I had an appointment with Chen, he would always give me the strangest looks, and his speech would be oddly modified from how I heard him speak to his other patients. He would also give me a Urine test EVERY time I had an appointment with him, which I had no problem with at the time, because I wasn’t aware that he was a racist, who was doing all this because of suspicions he had that I gave him NO reason to! At any rate, he would side eye me, and look as suspiciously at me as his thoughts allowed him, and ONE day as I was waiting in his exam room for him, he shows up and no sooner than when he entered the room he says; “Look, I dunno what’s going on, but whatever you’re doing, you need to STOP, because it’s showing you have DILAUDID in your system!”. I was SHOCKED!!! I didn’t even know how to SPELL Dilaudid, much less knowing where to FIND it, but that information didn’t seem to concern Chen. I was THEN starting to get ANGRY, and now everything began to make SENSE! The side eyes, the TESTING every visit, and now the flat out ACCUSATION, which was one of the most DISRESPECTFUL and HUMILIATING things I have ever been subjected to! I was FURIOUS now, because not only was it untrue, but he wasn’t even TRYING to understand an alternate perspective as to how it could’ve happened, and was more hell bent on what, I STILL don’t know to this day!!! I scheduled a meeting with HIM, me, and patient relations which was a very uneventful gathering, because CHEN DIDN’T SHOW UP, instead was his SUPERVISOR, who claimed that the result of my being accused came from the fact that I have been taking slow acting Morphine Sulfate which the supervisor claimed could show up on a drug scan AS Dilaudid! That would mean that the doctor was WRONG, right? So why wasn’t he there to APOLOGIZE to me for such an outrageous and disrespectful accusation which caused a big unnecessary SCENE in his office! Plus, if he went to SCHOOL for as long as a doctor SHOULD, wouldn’t that be something HE would know as well? No answer from the supervisor! So I went home feeling like NOTHING was done about this little man, and his notion that somehow I MUST be a criminal because I’m BLACK! I got home, and decided to write Chen a nice long email, telling him what a racist POS he was, and how if I EVER hear of him EVER disrespecting another BLACK patient like he did to me, I’d get on the phone and tell any and everyone who’d listen how disrespectful he was to me, and how he shouldn’t be practicing at MSK if he was going to treat black Cancer patients like that! It’s bad enough that we have to deal with so many of the debilitating aspects of Cancer itself, but to have to be LAMBASTED and ACCUSED by the very people who’re supposed to be HELPING to handle such a devastating disease! After I sent that email, I was called by MSK hospital, and told that I cannot THREATEN the staff, which the ONLY thing I threatened that man with was letting his superiors know what a RACIST and SUSPICIOUS CHARACTER he was! They told me that I couldn’t come BACK to MSK unless I spoke with the director of the hospital, the head of security (who read the email and said he saw no evidence of a threat), AND a hospital psychologist! I REFUSED at first, because I didn’t understand why they were LYING, when ALL they had to do was get him to APOLOGIZE to me, but they decided to do this in the MIDDLE OF MY CHEMO TREATMENTS, and I NEEDED those, so I decided I’d do what they were basically FORCING me to do, and I decided that after that. I’d leave MSK and go ELSEWHERE for my care, because there weren’t many black patients there, and I just felt UNSAFE, and I felt like MSK was actually a HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT for me, and so as SOON as my Chemo treatments weee done THEY actually came to ME to find out when I was leaving, and they HASTILY pushed me out of the services and care of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center!!! I truly wish there were some LEGAL way that I could redeem myself, because I feel SO VIOLATED, and SO MISTREATED that It’s caused me to have PTSD from the raw ANGER and RAGE this caused me to experience on an almost DAILY BASIS!!! I cannot and would not wish that kind of treatment on my worst enemy, and it was MSK who went out of their WAY to make me feel less deserving and less worthy of the care that SO MANY OTHERS receive without any racist preconceived ideas and notions! I dissuade ALL Black people I have ever met dealing with Cancer from getting care at MSK, because for all of its accolades and praises from other Cancer patients of other races and ethnicities, (I’m African American) the experiences for BLACK patients is HORRIFIC to say the LEAST!!! Thank you for your time, and thank you for allowing me this forum to relate my story to you!!! I hope NO ONE has to experience what I did, no matter WHAT race they are, but I don’t think this would’ve happened to any other person from any other racial group than mine! The amount of ridiculousness black people have to face in the New York Medical community is OVERWHELMINGLY ABUNDANT!!!

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