Racist Doctor Writes Prescription For Mom To Spank Her 5-Year-Old Biracial Son

Oh, Texas.

A mother appeared before the Texas Medical Board last week to complain about an ER doctor at Huguley Memorial Medical Center who treated her five-year-old boy for a finger infection and wrote a prescription for her to “apply large paddle to bottom of child anytime he needs it.” What’s even more WTF about this story? The physician, Dr. Carl W. Gossett, who is white, asked the child’s race first. When she informed him her son was biracial, the doc asked, “How does your family feel about that?”, meaning, you know, teh interracial sex. Courtney Capps took her son to the ER after he gnawed on his fingernail so much he got an infection, where he was examined by Dr. Gossett. “When we were in there, my son was minding his own business,” Capps, who is white, told the Star-Telegram. “[Gossett] asked what race my child was … that was totally out of context for him to ask me that.” In any case, she told the doctor her son was half black. Dr. Gossett grunted and then reportedly said, “What does your family think about that?” He also handed her the prescription for paddling.

Capps complained immediately to the ER medical director; a spokesperson confirmed to the Star-Telegram that this doctor is no longer employed by the hospital, although he would not explain why. Dr. Gossett would not speak with the Star-Telegram, but his wife did: she insisted her husband was just “joking” with the spanking prescription and that he inquired about the five-year-old boy’s race because he was screening him for diseases that particularly affect African-Americans, like sickle-cell disease. (As you do when someone comes in with a problem with his fingernail, right?) “It wasn’t meant to be racially negative,” she assured the newspaper.

I have to hand it to this doctor! He crammed racism and judgment about her parenting (which may also have been racist, if the doctor’s implication was that young biracial boys, in particular, should be physically disciplined by parents lest they run wild or something) all into a single ER visit. Regardless of one’s opinions on spanking, I think we can all agree it’s inappropriate for a doctor to “prescribe” it after what seemed like a fairly routine ER visit for normal five-year-old boy stuff. And it’s especially inappropriate after an inquiry into the child’s race. I would go so far as to say this entire exchange was medically unethical of Dr. Gossett.

The Huguley Memorial Medical Center offered to pay the Capps’ medical bills for them, which the mother has declined. Instead, she is considering lawyering up (which may be fruitless, as it’s my understanding that racist words are protected free speech) and going after him via the Texas Medical Board. She has my support!


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