Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of weeks, you’ve heard the news that the United States saw the first case of Ebola diagnosed within our borders. And I’ll admit, when I first heard this news I was a bit alarmed. Especially considering the patient in question, Thomas Duncan, was being kept in a hospital just a few miles from where I live. Though I’ll also admit that my fear was based on ignorance about the Ebola virus.
But after listening to the experts (and researching the virus myself) my fears subsided and I realized that while Ebola is clearly a scary virus, we’re not currently in any danger of some kind of pandemic breaking out here in the United States. Though I believe it’s still a good thing to be overly cautious when it comes to dealing with this virus.
Well, Fox News’ Eric Bolling and Geraldo Rivera had a heated debate after hearing the news that Thomas Duncan had in fact died. They fought over whether or not his death was a result of poor medical treatment because of his race and social status.
“It was either gross malpractice or it was the doctor seeing yet another poor black man without insurance in the emergency room, yet again, these urban hospitals overrun with patients without insurance,” Rivera said. “I think there’s almost zero chance that his race or social class played no role.”
“How could you bring race? You know what, Geraldo, I would expect Al Sharpton to bring race into this, I would expect Jesse Jackson to bring race into this, I would not expect Geraldo Rivera to bring race into this,” Bolling responded.
“You are playing a card; you’re playing the race card, but I think you’re playing the wrong card. You should be playing the medical insurance card. He didn’t have his medical insurance, and maybe there was an issue there,” he concluded.
Oddly, I think Bolling is closer to being right than Geraldo. And it pains me greatly to side with Bolling on anything.
This is an issue of insurance in this country and the fact that millions of people are given poor treatment or simply die because they either have no health insurance or what they do have isn’t very good. And when a hospital is operating for-profit, patients are too often seen as revenue or expenses rather than actual human beings. And I think most of us know how for-profit corporations feel about eliminating expenses.
I might be naive, but I just don’t think his race had anything to do with it. I know some are trying to claim that because he was black, that had an impact on the kind of treatment he got. But I’m not really buying that.
From various things I’ve read, the length of time the virus had gone untreated was probably what played the biggest role. Whereas these Americans who’ve been treated and lived had almost immediate treatment upon diagnosis.
I know some will still claim that because he was a poor black man the hospital turned him away, which led to him not getting the proper treatment in a timely manner. But if that’s your stance, then you’re claiming this hospital might have suspected he had Ebola – and turned him away anyway because he happened to be black.
And that just doesn’t make any sense.
I doubt anyone who treated him suspected he had the disease (though they should have based on his background), then simply turned him away based on a combination of his race and social status. Odds are incompetence by the hospital (based on the fact they should have suspected Ebola considering his symptoms and travel history), and the general feeling that his symptoms weren’t life threatening (along with a lack of health insurance) is what led to the decision to not admit him to the hospital.
But no matter what you think might have happened, it’s still tragic that Thomas Duncan lost his fight to such a nasty virus, and we need to learn lessons from this so it doesn’t happen in our country again.
Watch the segment below via Fox News: