Doctor "crucified" in Americus
February 20, 2001
Dr. Ridgely A. Muímin Muhammad
On the evening of February 19, 2001 in Americus, GA, a few miles from the home of former President Jimmy Carter in Plains, GA, a small church in the Black community was packed with over 200 people. No, it was not a funeral, but the beginning of a movement.
Rev. Elijah Smith said, "I am here tonight to stand up for my brother, my doctor and my friend Dr. Marshall. I full well understand that if they take him down then Elijah is next in line." Rev. Ezekiel Holley, Regional Coordinator for the NAACP, expressed the concern that Dr. Marshall served patients throughout this area. "An attack on him is an attack on us all."
The rally and organizing meeting was held in protest of a letter received by Dr. Marshall from the Sumter Regional Hospital the previous Monday announcing that all of his hospital privileges including admitting patients were revoked immediately. The letter in part reads: "The Medical Executive Committee of Sumter Regional Hospital voted to take this action at a committee meeting earlier today because of your willful disrespect of Hospital policies and because your conduct requires that immediate action be taken to reduce the substantial likelihood of immediate injury or damage to the health or safety of any patient, employee or others present in the Hospital." Signed Jerry W. Adams, Pres. Sumter Regional Hospital, Inc. February 12, 2001.
According to sources Mr. Adams, who has a bachelors degree and earns $240,000 per year, is dismissing Dr. Marshall, a full medical doctor, for no apparent reason other than undefined references to "conduct" and "disrespect". As a spokesman for Dr. Marshall stated, "Sumter Regional Hospital has retaliated against Dr. John Marshall because of his charges against the hospital concerning the rights of employees. The EEOC of the state of Georgia concurs with the fact that the hospital is retaliating by suspending Dr. Marshallís privileges."
Dr. Marshall came to Americus at the request of the Black residents of Americus who were without a Black doctor at that time. As one sister said at the rally, "Dr. Marshall could have just set at home drinking fine wine and counting his money, but he did not." Instead Dr. Marshall serves as the president of the local chapter of the NAACP and also publishes a Black-oriented community newspaper, which rivals the major town newspaper in relevant content.
Being the NAACP President, Dr. Marshall has been presented with numerous complaints of racial discrimination by Black people in the Americus community at large and by employees of Sumter Regional Hospital in particular. Approximately 20 cases of discrimination were submitted to the EEOC. Although most of the cases were not acted upon because of "technical difficulties and questionable deadline violations", it was found that Dr. Marshall was retaliated against for filing the cases.
The people of the community came out in mass numbers to show their support to Dr. Marshall and send a message to the "powers that be" that they are not going to take it anymore. Many of his patients were in attendance and wanted to know what they would do if they needed to go to the hospital. Rev. Spencer Booker of Allen Chapel AME Church, where the rally was held, stated to Dr. Marshall that "Your patients are my congregation. We ministers have buses and I would like to offer my church bus in the service of Dr. Marshall to make sure that our congregation can get to surrounding hospitals if necessary."
Dr. Marshall stated that ,"some of my colleagues in nearby cities have agreed to see his patients in need of hospital care and that the other hospitals surrounding Sumter Regional would welcome more patients."
Some one from the audience blurted out, "Itís on!!"
E-mail Dr. Marshall to get involved: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (229)924-0880 and (229)924-7080 Fax
Crowd listens at Allen Chapel AME Church in Americus, Ga
Dr. Marshall addresses questions at rally.
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