When Jackson, Tennessee, woman Terry Ragland was struck with a case of lower back pain, she went to see Dr. Timothy Sweo, who recommended X-rays. When the X-rays came back this is what the doctor said.
“He said, ‘I know what the problem is. It’s ghetto booty,’” recounted Ragland. “I said, ‘Ghetto what?’ He said, ‘Ghetto booty. There’s no cure for it, but I could give you something if you’re having pain.’”
To the uninitiated, “ghetto booty” is not a medical term. Nor is it an appropriate diagnosis to give to a patient. This should be obvious, but apparently there are still some incredibly inappropriate people out there. Ragland reported it to the doctor’s office manager and made a formal complaint to the state’s Department of Health. A few weeks later, she received an “apology” from Sweo. I say apology, but really, he simply attempted to justify his actions.
Ragland’s technical diagnosis was lumbar lordosis, and, claimed Sweo in the letter, he decided “to take a technical conversation regarding your lower back and make it less technical.”
“It says to me that he doubts what type of intellect I have, how intelligent I am to be able to understand what he conveys to me in a medical term,” Ragland told WREG.
“What I was trying to explain to that patient is that she has lumbar lordosis, which is a fancy name for the curve of the lower spine that makes the buttocks protrude more,” the doctor told WREG. “In trying to explain that I said that she had ghetto booty, and she didn’t like that apparently. That was my attempt to explain why she had the back problem.”
“It’s not endearing. It’s not loving,” said Ragland. “It’s not a compliment. It’s wrong in every aspect and it’s very demeaning.”
The Department of Health will determine what, if any, action will be taken against Sweo. [New York Daily News]