HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Ethel Easter says she broke down and cried when the doctor told her she would have to wait two months to schedule her hernia surgery at a county operated hospital.
“I was like, 'I can’t wait for two months.' I’m terribly ill, and he said 'listen' he got very abrupt. He said 'who do you think you are? You have to wait just like everybody else',” Easter said.
The doctors tone Easter says made her decide to tape record her surgery.
“This is my natural hair I had a weave at the time which is braid extensions and when I put my hair up I put the recorder right in my hair,” said Easter.
Soon after you hear Easter start to snore on the tape she says the surgeon tells others in the OR what he thinks of her.
Surgeon on tape: “She’s a handful she had some choice words for us in the clinic when we didn’t book her case in two weeks.”
Other male voice on tape: “Really”
Surgeon: “I’m going to call a lawyer and file a complaint” (laughter)
Other male voice: “That doesn’t seem like the thing to say to the person whose going to do your surgery”
Easter says some of the OR staff made disparaging remarks about her body. You can hear a nurse in the OR laughing about it.
“Did you see her belly button?” says a female voice on the tape which is followed by laughter.
On the tape you can hear a male OR staff member say to the anesthesiologist, "Precious meet Precious,".
“It was Precious meet Precious, as though I was this big fat black woman,” Easter said.
Easter says you can hear some OR staff members refer to her as “always the queen” and then the surgeon repeats the phrase and says he feels sorry for her husband.
“When I heard the comments on the tape and listened to them I was shocked,” said community activist Quanell X. “I had no idea that doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses would carry themselves in this manner in an operating room.”
A spokesman for Harris Health System which oversees the county operated hospitals declined comment citing patient confidentiality laws.
In a letter sent to Easter Harris Health System states we have used this opportunity to remind the OR staff and physicians to be mindful of their comments at all times.