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When Racism Is Called Out in Care Delivery (03:22)

During the Ebola crisis at Texas Health Dallas, some questioned whether the afflicted patient was given optimal care — and whether racism was responsible. How did the hospital handle the situation?

“All you can really do is respond to it, quickly and swiftly and clearly, both internally and externally,” says Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan. “And that’s what we did.”

Texas Health Dallas serves a diverse pool of patients, so they simply shared demographics from the hospital’s emergency room with “a wide variety of audiences,” says Berdan.

“When you have a huge parking lot that’s full of all these news agencies and organizations, all of whom are looking for stories and trying to write things . . . it’s really hard,” Berdan adds. “There’s so much going on that you just have to listen, be aware, and be very swift in communicating and correcting when things are not accurate.”

“What was the low point for you [during this time]?” asks NEJM Catalyst Founding Advisor Tom Lee.

“The two low points for me were when our own nurses came in and were diagnosed. That was not something we were anticipating, and it was a one-two punch that I would say were the two lowest points that we had during that whole affair,” says Berdan. But, he adds, “The high point was when both of them came home.”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Leadership: Translating Challenge to Success at Mayo Clinic, June 2, 2016.

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