Complaint: Doctor told woman she had 'ghetto booty'

July 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM   |   Comments

JACKSON, Tenn., July 16 (UPI) -- A Tennessee woman's complaint to the state Department of Health alleges her doctor diagnosed her back pain problems as a case of "ghetto booty."

Terry Ragland, 55, said she had previously visited the Jackson office were Dr. Timothy Sweo practices and had positive interactions, but the April visit when she complained of back problems was the first time she had seen Sweo, WREG-TV, Memphis, reported Tuesday.

"It's one of those things where my hip seems to slip, like it's slipping out of place a little bit. It's painful when you get up to go walk it kind of slips, you know," Ragland said.

She said Sweo had X-rays taken before giving her a diagnosis.

"He said 'I know what the problem is. It's ghetto booty,'" Ragland said. "I think I blacked out after he said ghetto booty. I think my mind was just stuck on the phrase because I couldn't believe he said that."

Ragland said she told an office manager, who offered an apology, and she later received a letter from Sweo.

"I was trying to take a technical conversation regarding your lower back and make it less technical," the letter read.

"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 said.

Sweo said he was trying to use plain language to tell Ragland about her condition, "lumbar lordosis," a type of spinal curve.

"I think I do understand why her feelings were hurt but I don't understand what's offensive about it," Sweo said.

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