“Black Man In A White Coat” Forum Post

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    colbyc
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    I found Tweedy’s recollection of his patient Tanya to be very interesting and revealing about the realities of medicine. Tanya was a sixteen-year-old black female who came in for vaginal bleeding and she was pregnant. Tweedy and other practitioners thought that she was using drugs, leading to a miscarriage and the vaginal bleeding she had experienced. Yet, Tanya would not admit to using any drugs despite the urgency of the situation. This reveals that medicine is sometimes very difficult and patients don’t always cooperate, regardless of the severity of the situation. After much questioning about Tanya’s assumed drug use, the attending physician intensely questioned her and he finally got an answer. The sternness and utter seriousness of the physician coerced Tanya to immediately confess to using crack. The doctor soon realized that Tanya was in early labor and transported her to the labor and delivery unit. Soon thereafter, the doctor informed Tanya that she had a miscarriage and she began to loudly cry. This moment in the book was very poignant, as the room was silent and a sense of sadness swept the room. The nurses began to cry and the doctor stared at Tweedy, only to walk out without reassuring Tweedy that this was the worst of medicine. This experience proves that medicine can be emotionally taxing on the care providers, despite the good efforts they put forth. After this traumatic experience, Tweedy goes on to describe Tanya’s background to discourage the reader from prejudices of black females and drug abuse. I found this idea very intriguing because he had portrayed her as being an abhorrent person who killed her unborn son due to addiction, yet now depicts her as being a victim of society. The heartbreaking language used to describe the horrors of Leslie’s (Tanya’s mom) life causes the reader to pity Tanya and steer away from judging her drug abuse. Tweedy states that Leslie’s mom was “hooked on heroin” (pg.50) and “her mom’s boyfriends molested her” (pg.50). This egregious family history placed Tanya in the cycle of poverty that ultimately caused her to be just like her mom: a pregnant teenager hooked on crack. This is a great description of Tanya, as Tweedy illustrates her personal life that provides medical reasoning for her drug abuse and pregnancy. Lastly, this encounter with Tanya further perpetuates the stereotypes that the white medical community has on black people. This further proves Tweedy’s ideas about race in medicine and provides evidence for his claims.

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