A woman recorded doctors in Houston talking badly about her during surgery.
Ethel Easter needed an operation for a hernia and was told by doctors that it would take two months to have it scheduled.
“I was like, ‘I can’t wait for two months.’ I’m terribly ill, and he said ‘Listen’ – he got very abrupt. He said, ‘Who do you think you are? You have to wait just like everybody else,’ ” Easter said to Houston’s Fox 26.
After that, Easter, who at the time of the Fox 26 story was wearing her natural hair straightened, decided to hide a recorder in her braids before her surgery to capture any other rude comments the doctors may have said about her. After she falls asleep, a doctor can be heard telling another surgeon what he thinks about the patient.
He says in the recording, “She’s a handful. She had some choice words for us in the clinic when we didn’t book her case within two weeks.”
Another doctor says, “That doesn’t seem like the thing to say to the person whose going to do your surgery.”
A nurse also makes disparaging remarks about Easter’s body, asking “Have you seen her belly button?” a body part the patient is self-conscious about. The tape also records a male operating room staffer saying, “Precious meet Precious,” to the anesthesiologist. The comment is a reference to the 2009 film, Precious, where the overweight titular character is portrayed by Gabourey Sidibe.
The treatment Easter faced does not help Black people who are weary of doctors. Community activist Quanell X tells Fox 26 he was shocked when he heard the comments Easter recorded.
“I had no idea that doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses would carry themselves in this manner in an operating room,” said the activist.
Fox 26 reports the Harris Health System, which oversees county-operated hospitals, sent Easter a letter, but a spokesperson declined to comment on the story because of patient confidentiality laws. The letter states, “We have used this opportunity to remind the OR staff and physicians to be mindful of their comments at all times.”