Jonnie Ramsey Brown
You Promised To Do No Harm: A True Story of Love, Loss, and the Horror of Healthcare Disparity for One African American Family
Author Jonnie Ramsey Brown tells the heartbreaking story of the loss of her beloved husband and her fight to uncover the truth about his hospital treatment during his final days.
The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 The Life, Part 2 The Loss, Part 3 The Fight. In Part 1, Jonnie describes her relationship with Thomas, how they met and built a happy home with their two children. Jonnie first met Thomas in 1972, aged twenty-three. After meeting by chance at a night club one evening, the couple fell deeply in love. Jonnie describes a fairytale romance and how from the moment they met, Thomas never left her side. The couple married in 1979. In Part 2, Jonnie describes how Thomas was suddenly taken ill during a family reunion in Florida. He was rushed to hospital and treated in an ‘unofficial’ ICU, when they couldn’t find out what was wrong with him. Jonnie recalls in graphic detail the neglect and subpar treatment her husband experienced, and her own experiences trying to navigate the hospital system and communicate with medical staff. Thomas’s condition deteriorated and he was moved to a hospice where sadly he passed away. Following his death, Jonnie describes her fight to uncover the truth about her husband’s illness and his treatment. She discovered that Thomas did not receive basic medical care and that the hospital had several opportunities to save his life but did not. Jonnie filed a lawsuit against the hospital in 2018. In Part 3, Jonnie describes the court case that ensued, and her struggle to get justice for her husband.
You Promised To Do No Harm: A True Story of Love, Loss, and the Horror of Healthcare Disparity for One African American Family, is a poignant and heartbreaking memoir by Jonnie Ramsey Brown. This is a deeply moving book, written by Jonnie with such love, care, tenderness and compassion for her husband. Jonnie’s ability to put down in words this horrific experience is inspiring, and a true testament of her love for Thomas. The book highlights many failures in care, due to incompetence and racial discrimination. Sadly, Jonnie and Thomas’s story is not unique. Throughout the book Jonnie draws similar comparisons to the murder of George Floyd. Like George Floyd, Thomas did not receive the standard of care or compassion due to the color of the skin.
This is a deeply personal and deeply distressing memoir, but it is a story that needs to be told. It gives a much-needed voice to Thomas and all those who do not have a voice. I hope this book will draw attention to racial discrimination in the healthcare system, and racism all its forms.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A deeply personal and deeply distressing memoir that shines a much-needed spotlight on racial disparities in the healthcare system.