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A Piece of My Mind
January 8, 2014

Accommodating Bigotry

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2014;311(2):139-140. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.283733

Gregory McGriff is an Ivy league–trained internist who was once dismissed from a patient’s room because McGriff is black. National Public Radio aired the physician’s story in May 2013 as part of its Race Card project.1 McGriff went on to relate a different incident in which a patient complained that he was “uppity,” having used terminology that the patient did not understand. McGriff’s narrative brought to mind an occasion when I cared for an elderly member of the Ku Klux Klan. The man found himself in our surgical intensive care unit in Philadelphia, cared for by me, a black physician, along with a rainbow of Jewish, Latino, and Asian health professionals. His endotracheal tube prevented him from commenting on his United Nations health care team, but he did look somewhat wide-eyed whenever we entered his room.

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