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COVID-19 Patient Discrimination Claims Against Rochester General Hospital

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

In December of 2020, a video of a Black doctor suffering from COVID-19 went viral after her claims of racism. Dr. Susan Moore posted a video on Facebook claiming White doctors in Indianapolis refused to provide adequate treatment and insisted on sending her home. Sadly, shortly after posting the video, Dr. Moore passed away due to complications from the virus. Now, a Black COVID-19 patient is accusing staff at Rochester General Hospital of discrimination. Patient Fred Tanksley began posting his experience with White staff members via Facebook. We reached out to Mr. Tanksley to confirm the race of the staff members and for permission to publish his story. Our goal is to inform our readers of the mistreatment of people of color within health, education, the criminal justice system, and other organizations. Mr. Tanksley gave us consent to publish his Facebook posts on our platform.

On April 25, Mr. Tanksley posted, “Here is where things went south, my Dr’s office nurse told me to go to Urgent Care for an in-person evaluation. We concluded that the Wilson Center on Carter street was the closest. I get to the Wilson Center parking lot. I called the office number. I was then told I had to go through the process of checking in. so I drove back out the parking lot and then back in where the guard was. I told him that my Dr’s office sent me so he directed me to go through the one line. When I got up to the next attendant, she said that I was in the wrong line and that I had to go back around and get in the opposite line. Okay, when I get in that line I was told to call a number and to be put on a list. I called the number. I explained to the person that my Dr’s office sent me her for an in-person exam. She told me that since I have covid I should go back home and quarantine. I told her again that my Dr’s office sent me here, she said it did not matter since I have covid they will not see me I should go home. I then said that don’t you have an oath to take care of sick people. She said that they could not help me. I asked her for her name. She said “Why do I have to give you my name” I said so that when I call my Dr’s office back and tell them what you just said I can tell them who said it. She said she was not giving me her name. She would talk to her supervisor and call me back."

Tanksley continues, "After waiting in the parking lot for over 20 min. and no call back I called my Dr’s office back. I explained to the nurse what was going on. She said that she have never heard of such a thing. She had no idea why the person would tell me that. I asked the nurse if she could call the Wilson Center and talk with them. I asked if they could all get on the same page as to what I am to do to get medical attention. She said that her calling may not change things. I at this time was lost. I said to her your all apart of Rochester General Hospital. You send me to one of their facilities and you have no say on they care that they give when you sent someone to them. She said she could try but do not expect any guarantees. Now I am upset at this point. So I asked her what did she want me to do? Go back home or what. She said I could go back home if I wanted to. I said I am asking you what to do I am the sick one and I am seeking medical help. I them asked if I should go to the Emergency Department. She then said that she is sure that they will see me and not turn me away. I then asked if she would call them to be sure so that I do not run into the same problem. She said that she would call them and if I wanted to drive there or have an ambulance come get me. I informed her that would be senseless since I was in the parking lot adjacent to the hospital only 60 sec away."

"I told the nurse that I wanted to know what the person’s name was that I spoke to at the Wilson center. She said that she would do an incident report I asked for the report number she said that it would be in the My Care information. So now I am pulling out of the parking lot to go to the Emergency Department and A nurse, DR and Attendant from the Wilson center step out in front of the car, I stop and they ask me what the problem is. I explained what had happened and they said they don’t know why she would have said that to me and that to give them a min and they will see me. To give the nurse a moment to get suited up and she will come to the door to get me. Once she came, I went in and the people who treated me were kind and considerate. I explained to them that as long as I was sitting or lying down and did not have to take a deep breath, I was fine. But if I took anything more than a small normal breath, I would start choaking like I was suffocating and that it was very painful like something was pressing on my chest. After showing her she said that I need to go to the Emergency Department right away"

"I get to the Emergency Department and I must say that they were exceptional from the intake process to everyone who attended to me. They did blood work and x-rays. Their main concern was to make sure that I did not have Pneumonia. Once that was established the Dr. came and explained that things looked good. They gave me a dose of steroids and a prescription for a medical inhaler to take if needed. She said that being in good health My chances were good. But if things changed to come back right away. She has seen that some Covid patients have seem to be getting better and then thing went south very quickly. She said to go for short walks and not to exert myself too much. That brings us to today. My son picked me up one of my favorite salads from Aladdin’s it was at this point that I realized that I could no longer smell and about an ½ hour later I could not taste. It is odd to eat one of your favorite dishes and not taste any of the flavor of the dish. I called myself going for a walk and had to sit for 20 min before heading back home as I was out of breath and could not take a deep breath without feeling like I was going to pass out. I want to thank all my friends and family who knew I am sick as the out poring of support and love is up-lifting. I was trying not to post me being positive as not wanting people to worry. But I wanted to share with everyone my experience and to say that everything they say about the effects are true. To please take it seriously and to protect yourselves and your older love ones. Until tomorrow, be safe no event is worth a life

April 27, "Monday night around 22:00, I called my wife down to help me with using the inhaler. I have never seen her scared being a nurse as then. She said I was hallucinating. I tried calling the after care team but she said that going through the call tree was taking too long. She got me dressed and took me back to emergency. They were able to get me into a room rather quickly. They said that it was hard to find a vain to draw blood and do IV. The nurse said it seemed like the vains were collapsed. The Dr came in and explained to me what was actually going on. I was panting really fast and not releasing all the C02 from my body and that was causing part of the problem. Also the fact I had not eaten in a few days and no liquids in my system. He said that my lungs were shrinking because I am not filling them up as normal. They said that they could hear something in my right lung and did a CT scan to further investigate that. That was awful it made me throw up the nothing I had in my stomach. There was only mucus and blood. Right now I feel much better, I have the chills but I am better now. When my kids come by I will walk to the corner and back. I don’t want to go by myself. When I did that on Sunday I was out of breath and had to sit for about 20 min before I could head back home. Thank you all for all your prayers it means a lot. Please take care of your love ones. I don’t want to hear that any of you or your family has this. This is why I am posting my status. Hoping that you all take it seriously. I love you all, I love you all. May the peace of Christ be with you always. They will be sending me back home soon, be safe everyone"

April 29, "I wish after my last post I could say it could only get better but that would be a bold face lie. It gets worse. Nurse came in this morning scan my band and said he was gonna take my vitals and then give me a few medications a shot and some food I said OK no problem he did the vitals came over and got ready to give me a sugar test and so I asked him do I have diabetes he say you don’t I said not that I’m aware of so he looked at me strange and then he scan my band again and then he got up and turned around then walk back a little bit and then he said oh you’re the wrong guy I’m glad we double checked and I didn’t give you the medication they sent me to the wrong room. I call my wife and she told me to push the button in the dark so she could talk to the doctor doctor came in I have my wife speak to him and he told her what they were going to do in there she understood what he was saying she then asked him that I had not eaten and that I was hungry so he said that he would have them bring me some food he did not realize that they didn’t bring me anything when they were passing out the food trays around 8 o’clock so he was going to make sure that happens about an hour pass my wife called me back and said they did i.e. I told her no so she asked me to push the button again a different doctor came in she told him the same thing and he seemed surprised that I had not gotten a meal and said that they would make sure that i get something another hour went by my wife called again and asked me if I had eaten I said no so she asked me again to push the button and then tech came in my way told her same thing and she seem surprised that I had not received a tree for breakfast and she said she was going to go and get something and bring to me it is now 11am and still nothing from the hospital has been given to me in the form of nourishment my daughter and son left and went to get me something to eat and brought it up to me and they have delivered that food to me but to this day and time I have not received any food from RGH only the promise that something was coming."

May 1, "Morning,

I am really trying to understand what is happening here. Is it just me. Today is the third time where they have forgotten to feed me a meal. No one seems to know why this keeps happening. I told them that I can’t keep doing this. So that we can not have a conflict and that since you can’t figure out where the disconnect or breakdown in communication is please cancel bringing me meals and I will have my family feed me for the duration of my stay. How in the heck can an organization of this size have so many issues with caring for the health and nourishment of one patient. Can someone out there in the medical field care to explain how this oversight can keep happening."

To read more about Fred Tanksley story please click the link below:

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