By Kendall McGee | June 5, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT – Updated June 5 at 6:49 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Healthcare workers took a stand in front of New Hanover Regional Medical Center Friday morning.
Providers wearing masks gathered to stand together for the importance of health equity in our community and its connection to racial injustice across the country.
The medical resident who organized the event spoke briefly about standing with George Floyd before everyone took a knee and observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence — the same amount of time a Minnesota officer knelt on his neck until he died.
Many people held signs and the organizer wore a white coat with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. written on his back, saying “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.”
NHRMC Chief Physician Dr. Philip Brown says it’s a difficult time for our country and especially in our community given Wilmington’s history. Brown says they wanted the community to understand diversity, inclusion, health equity are all core values for the hospital.
“The medical group organized that silent eight minutes and 46 seconds of silent solidarity to support George Floyd and to say we know racial inequity is a problem not only in our country but in our community and for us to give a symbol. We realize now that as medical providers and physicians, the Hippocratic oath to ‘do no harm’ is woefully inadequate to the current times because we have to take action, we have to stand firmly on the side of correcting these racial injustices,” said Brown.
Brown says the Wilmington community continues to grapple with racial disparities in infant mortality rates. Black infants are 2.4 times more likely to die in infancy than a white child, according to Dr. Brown. Disparities also exist in rates of kidney disease and diabetes prevalence and deaths.
“There’s no scientific reason behind these things, they’re basically functions of systemic factors…systemic racism that has occurred for generations leads to factors that cause these disparities. We’re completely committed to make a difference. We plan to start reducing these disparities and we wont stop until they’re eliminated.”
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