Racial monomania — the Marxist ideology of critical race theory (CRT) and its various woke iterations — has infected American medicine, and its call for medical reparations endangers us all.
A racially-biased pilot program at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital is instituting ''preferential admission'' for minority heart-failure patients to its specialty cardiology service where it claims medical outcomes are the best. Stating that white patients at the hospital were more likely than black patients to be admitted to the cardiology service, the program administrators attribute this disparity to America's so-called long history of institutional racism.
Acknowledging that self-advocacy (patient requests) did play a role, the hospital rejects objective clinical criteria for access as non-color-blind and inadequate, given systemic racism. The data it presents to demonstrate racial discrimination, however, fails to provide statistical evidence of differences in treatment provided to patients within or outside of the service. Undeterred, the hospital argues that the admission process should be biased toward minorities as an act of ''medical restitution'' (reparations).
Removing color-blind medical protocols in order to favor one racial group over another in the name of anti-racism is, in fact, racist. The new world of woke medicine calls it ''justice.''
This morally repugnant idea of race-biased medical care violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Affordable Care Act, both of which bar discrimination on the basis of race in federally funded programs. The project claims that the inequities (unequal outcomes) are so egregious that the elimination of America's ''color-blind'' medical policies supersedes any legal issues.
If race can be used to prioritize care for heart disease, what about other specialty care or organ transplantation?
The powerful American Medical Association (AMA) is propagandizing physicians and medical students into believing that there is systemic racism in medicine and elsewhere. Its Vision for Equity and Justice in Medicine states, ''Fulfilling our… mission … requires an unwavering commitment to equity and a comprehensive strategy for embedding racial and social justice within our organization. ..."
"Seeking to treat everyone the 'same' ignores the historical legacy of disinvestment and deprivation through … practice … of marginalizing and minoritizing communities.'' In other words, the AMA now considers color-blind medical care racist.
AMA trustee Willarda Edwards calls systemic racism ''the most serious barrier to the advancement of health equity and appropriate medical care.''
The AMA also dismisses meritocracy, suggesting that medical school admission, graduation and medical licensure not be based on test scores. It rejects biological differences between racial groups for differences in medical outcomes, embracing the Marxist premise that only racist systems create inequality of outcomes.
The organization advocates taking time from medical school instruction in diagnosing and treating illness to teach CRT and urges the redirection of research funding to focus on non-whites. Also, it calls for reversing climate change, instituting criminal justice reform and eliminating the Electoral College. Its ''vision'' could have been authored by CRT gurus Ibram X. Kendi or Ta-Nehisi Coates; both are quoted extensively.
When doctors (all non-white) at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York identified increased nasal expression of TMPRSS2 in African Americans as possibly making them more susceptible to COVID-19 than other patients, they were called racist. Tweets from numerous physicians attacked this research as irrelevant and smacking of eugenics.
When physicians reject interracial genetic and biological differences in favor of attributing to racism every ill that affects non-whites, you know we are in deep trouble!
Investigating the biological roots of racial disparities can shed meaningful light on medical problems among non-whites. African Americans suffer Vitamin D deficiency about twice as often as whites — a condition that seems to worsen vulnerability to respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Vitamin D supplementation within this group could yield immediate benefits, reducing deaths from COVID-19. Larger studies may confirm that drugs targeting TMPRRS2 protein reduce infection and death rates among African Americans.
The University of Washington School of Medicine, responding to student pressure, has recommended changing a formula for estimating kidney function that adjusts for racial differences. It claims that using the formula promotes a ''false narrative that Black bodies are inherently inferior to White bodies.''
This is absurd. There are two formulas used to estimate kidney function, both based on valid clinical data that adjust for scientifically established racial differences. Neither is racist. The medical school is pandering to woke students rather than educating them.
The medical establishment now promotes research that assumes, a priori, that racism causes all medical racial disparities. Scientific research in scholarly journals that fails to rigorously examine racism is discredited. The current obsession with no-causes-but-racism threatens to degrade scholarly standards in the health sciences and worsen the quality of patient care for all — including racial minorities.
Anyone caring about public health and improving outcomes for non-whites should help drive critical race theory out of the health sciences.
The question is: How can we protect medical education and practice from this latest iteration of Marxism and, at the same time, work to improve deficiencies that exist? An impoverished African American on Chicago's South Side is unlikely to get the same quality of medical care as a wealthy white person in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Oprah Winfrey has access to better medical care than a poor white living in a trailer park in Appalachia. Poverty, crime, drug abuse, poor education, single-parent families, welfare dependency, unhealthy lifestyles, dysfunctional hospitals and government services and lack of adequate insurance all play a role in determining outcomes. Some racial discrimination may be present, but woke ideologues, as usual, exaggerate its impact and downplay other factors.
When ideology creeps into science, we all lose. How did a dogma that tolerates no dissent become so entrenched in institutions like medicine, ostensibly dedicated to fostering independent, rational, empirical thinking?
Cultural Marxism, with its advocacy of equal outcomes via racial discrimination and racialist pseudoscience, is threatening to replace race-blind quality medical care for all. Institutionalizing discrimination favoring one race or ethnicity over others, in the name of righting past wrongs, breeds a competition for racial spoils and is a slippery slope to hell.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Ziva writes and lectures about U.S.-Israel relations, U.S. foreign policy, Israel, Zionism, Antisemitism and BDS on college campuses. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The Hill, New York Daily News, New York Observer, The Washington Times, American Spectator, American Thinker and Jerusalem Post. Read Ziva Dahl's Reports — More Here.
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