|Patrick Manning of Florida|
Patrick Manning; a Florida resident in a Facebook post on 1/13/14 expressed his anguish at Dr. Sumesh Chandra; a specialist in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at 3000 E Fletcher Avenue in Tampa Florida for referring to his daughter, a Down Syndrome patient as a ‘pet’ and going on to allegedly say that he wont treat her because he does not deal with pets as he is not a veterinarian.
Bristol Connecticut woman, Samantha Myers was outraged and disgusted when she saw the post and alerted me to it. As at the time I saw the post, it had gained a lot of traction with over 50 comments and over 22 thousand shares in less than a week as pictured below.
|Facebook post of Mr. Manning
Samantha personally asked me to assist her look into the matter and publicize it because she felt personally affected by it. She also has a young son with Down Syndrome and can understand the emotional stress and anguish the Manning family is currently going through.
I started digging around by first getting on the phone (1-800-441-ABIM) with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) who advised me to get in touch with the Medical Board of Florida. In the phone conversation on January 17, 2014 with Ruth Hafer of the ABIM, I found out that if the Florida medical board decides that there has been a misconduct by this doctor then the ABIM will get involved. Convo below.
The need thus to speak with someone at the Florida Board of Medicine (FBM) on behalf of Samantha became imperative and out of curiosity too, I felt the need to know what to do and how to do it if I found myself in such a condition. So my second phone call was therefore to the Florida Department of Health Customer Contact Center for the Division of Medical Quality Assurance. The representative I spoke with said there was no evidence of a formal complaint against this Doctor and that if there was then it was yet to be finalized. They also asked that just to be sure, we all the same sent a complaint.
Convo with FMB complaints division rep here
Even though I was aware of the fact that countless phone calls had been made to the offices of Dr. Chandra, I still felt the need to get his side of the allegations leveled against him, so I phoned. He was in the office at the time of my call but was busy with patients and I was asked by his office assistant to forward any issues to him via fax if it was urgent after I identified myself to be a journalist.
When I told Samantha Myers about the results of my calls to Florida I also discovered via Facebook that Patrick and his family were supposed to do an interview with a Florida news reporter but cancelled at the last moment. They rescheduled for later so if it happens, we will be sure to bring you updates.
I asked Samantha of Bristol CT why all this interest in the case of a Florida family she doesn’t even know, she said: “When you have a child with Down Syndrome you immediately join an exclusive community. This community of families supports each other through the challenges and many accomplishments of our children. My biggest fear in raising my son is how I will deal with the world outside this safe community”.
“How will I protect him from bullying and the remarks and actions of people who do not understand Down Syndrome. This story was my biggest fear come true. I had hoped that I would never encounter such a horror story. I felt personally affected because for every step forward in breaking down the negative stigma of Down Syndrome, we still have individuals who believe our children have no worth, no voice, no purpose.”
Samantha called on all those who believe individuals with Down Syndrome deserve to be seen and respected as the people they are, not for any preconceived idea of who they are because of an extra chromosome to join in the fight to create more awareness. “Down Syndrome patients are more like you and me than different from us” she said and felt strongly that it was time people started to treat such matters more seriously, whether they be in Florida, Connecticut or wherever.
Written by Oral Ofori