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Yale Doctor Says All Health Care Professionals Should Wear Body Cameras To Catch Them Being Racist

A Yale psychiatry resident has argued medical professionals should wear body cameras, claiming that life and death decisions made by health ...

A Yale psychiatry resident has argued medical professionals should wear body cameras, claiming that life and death decisions made by health care workers disproportionately affect black people in a negative way due to racism.

Dr. Amanda Calhoun, 28, argued in an op-ed for the Boston Globe that body cameras should be worn by health care professionals in order to hold responsible doctors and nurses for racist behavior allegedly displayed towards black patients. Calhoun, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Diversity Council of the Yale Resident Fellow Senate, “works to alleviate the impact of racism on her patients and society at large,” her website states.

“As a physician, I have witnessed countless racist behaviors toward Black patients, often coupled with conscious and cruel statements. I have heard White nurses joke that young Black children will probably join gangs and doctors describe the natural hair of Black people as ‘wild’ and ‘unkempt,'” Calhoun alleged. 

“I have seen Black patients unnecessarily physically restrained. I have stood in the emergency department as a Black teenager died from a gunshot wound while White staff chuckled, saying he was ‘just another criminal,'” she continued.

To combat these alleged behaviors, Calhoun suggests the use of body cameras so health care professionals will “self-check” their behavior towards patients. Though Calhoun admits the use of body cameras will not guarantee black lives are saved because of “racist” behaviors, the footage, she reasoned, can stand as “important evidence” for patients when dealing with negligence claims. She cited Tyre Nichols, a black man allegedly beaten to death by five black police officers in Memphis, as an example

“Patient discrimination can lead to doctors losing their medical license, but proving someone engaged in racist behavior after the fact is challenging, especially when it isn’t recorded,” Calhoun argued. 

2016 study found Black Americans were systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans due to racial bias among medical trainees and residents that pain thresholds varied between the two races. Participants who endorsed these beliefs rated the Black (vs. white) patient’s pain as lower and made less accurate treatment recommendations,” the study found.

Calhoun further alleged that racism allegations in hospital settings are underreported because the burden of proof falls to the patient and the risk of retaliation can be high. Even when it is reported, Calhoun continued, punishments for such behavior are “inconsistently enforced.”

“If hospitals and medical institutions want to make good on those anti-racism statements made in 2020, prove it: Have health care professionals wear body cameras. As a patient, I would feel far more comfortable if they did. And as a doctor, I will volunteer to wear one first,” Calhoun stated.

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