'Ghetto booty' diagnosis given for woman's back pain

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  Updated July 16, 2013 at 8:44 AM
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Terry Ragland has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health after she said her doctor gave her an insulting diagnosis for her back pain.

Ragland, 55, says that when she went to see Dr. Timothy Sweo in April, “He said ‘I know what the problem is. It’s ghetto booty.'"

Ragland said she had been to that doctor's office several times and had good experiences, but this was her first time seeing Sweo.

“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,” said Ragland.

Sweo was sent for X-rays after she described her pain. “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,” Raglan said.

When the X-rays came back, Sweo gave his diagnosis.

After Ragland complained to an office manager, she received a letter from Sweo, in which he wrote, "I was trying 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,” said Ragland.

The medical term for a curve in her spine is "lumbar lordosis," and Sweo's comments since the story came out only seem to be making things worse.

"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. In trying to explain that I said that she had ghetto booty and she didn’t like that apparently. ...

I think I do understand why her feelings were hurt but I don’t understand what’s offensive about it."

"It’s not endearing. It’s not loving. It’s not a compliment," Ragland said. "It’s wrong in every aspect and it’s very demeaning."

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