Woman files complaint after doctor tells her she has a 'ghetto booty'

CNN
Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 11:50am

A Tennessee woman is filing a complaint after she says her doctor used an offensive term when giving her a diagnosis.

She her doctor told her that her back pain stems from having a "ghetto booty."

Terry Ragland went to her doctor in Jackson looking for treatment for her severe lower back pain.

But the visit left her with a different sort of pain.

"It's inappropriate. It's sexist," said Ragland.

Previously, Ragland had been to the practice before and had two knee surgeries. She said those experiences were good. But this time, she saw a different doctor, Timothy Sweo, to handle her back issues.

She had been hurting that day and was seen by a nurse and then Dr. Sweo sent her to get an x-ray.

When Sweo came back into the exam room, he had a diagnosis never seen in any medical book.

"He said, 'I know what the problem is. It's ghetto booty.' And I said, 'Ghetto what?' He said, 'Ghetto booty.'".

Ragland then asked what could be done to relieve her pain.

Dr. Sweo told her there was no cure for it, but he could give her medicine for the pain.

Ms. Ragland reported the issue to an office manager who sincerely apologized. A few weeks later she received a letter in the mail from Dr. Sweo. The letter at one point said, "I was trying to take a technical conversation regarding your lower back pain 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." said Ragland.

Dr. Sweo refused to be interviewed but did admit that he did say 'ghetto booty' saying that it was his way of explaining to Ragland that she had Lumbar Lordosis.

Lumbar Lordosis is when a person has a curve in their spine that makes the buttocks protrude more.

Sweo went on to say that Ragland's 'ghetto booty' wasn't the whole problem but it was part of it.

"That actually is a slur, a racial slur, ghetto." said Ragland.

Dr. Sweo says that if you look up the definition of ghetto booty it means "just a protrusion...nothing about black or white."

CNN reporters looked up the term and found it didn't exist in Merriam Webster Dictionary.

"I think I do understand why her feelings were hurt, but I don't understand what's offensive about it," said Dr. Sweo. "You cannot cure Lumbar Lordosis."

Ragland continued to file a complaint with the state. She says that she hopes through all of this that Dr. Sweo learns bedside manner.

"The next person might not take it like I do, and he might find himself in a very bad, bad situation," said Ragland.

 

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