This is the command Dr. Maya Green, medical director at Howard Brown Health, gave to her staff to rescue a Black man in his 70s. He was a walk-in patient at her newly established testing tent in Chicago’s Southside Englewood neighborhood in March 2020. The patient had been denied the COVID-19 test for two weeks, as his condition got progressively worst.
Medical access denied
Despite being in his seventies, history of heart failure, and severe symptoms which included headaches, chills, loss of taste and smell, and a whooping cough that felt like an earthquake from his chest to his head – this Black man and senior citizen was being systemically denied and trapped in the run-around hyperbole of the medical-industrial complex.
The primary physician he had gone to for years would not see him or write a doctor’s notice to receive the test, knowing he had pre-existing conditions including a prior heart attack. To add insult to potential fatality, the numerous emergency room hospitals his wife took him to all throughout the Chicago land area would not give him the COVID-19 test – because it was in “limited supply” and he did not fit the “clinical criteria.”
He was just one of the soon to be tens of thousands of Blacks suffering from COVID during this pandemic, that absurdly did not fit the “algorithm” to get tested and adequately treated.
Dr. Maya was alarmed when she saw him and his wife at her testing tent that morning in March. In just minutes she noticed visible signs that every professional in the medical field is trained to observe and flag as lung issues and risk factors. One of the many signs – in addition to his age, symptoms, and medical history, was the intense expansion and contraction of his rib cage to overcompensate for the lack of oxygen he was getting. It made absolutely no sense to Dr. Maya that this man had been denied the COVID test and treatment.
After administering the test and diagnosing his frightening low levels of oxygen, Dr. Maya moved at God-speed to get him an ambulance for the fastest access to the best and nearest medical facility. She knew if this was not done, any minute could be his last.
45 minutes later – an ER doctor at the nearest hospital told the man, “Sir we need to put you on a ventilator immediately to save your life.” He was on a ventilator for nearly 2 weeks.
Despite his heartbeat stopping completely at one point, he miraculously recovered and is currently living his best life.
He knows without a shadow of a doubt – it’s a miracle he’s here today. This is so because Dr. Maya went above and beyond to save his life.