Doctor Eugene Gu, internet famous for drawing criticism for taking a knee against White supremacy on Twitter, revealed that he was fired from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) after experiencing a string of bullying incidents and complaints from patients who allegedly had a problem with his stance against racism.
Gu, a vocal proponent in the fight against White supremacy, originally made headlines for taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
I’m an Asian-American doctor and today I #TakeTheKnee to fight white supremacy. pic.twitter.com/69QLjrTShY
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 24, 2017
The physician, who began working for VUMC in July of 2015, was attacked in the organization’s parking garage a few months after beginning his unexpectedly tumultuous career. “Nothing made me feel more horrified and humiliated than hearing my attacker say, ‘Hey chink, you can’t fucking drive’,” Gu wrote in an op-ed for Nextshark. “My assailant then choked me using my own medical identification lanyard hanging around my neck.” His attacker would then go on to chase him back into the hospital and up nine flights of stairs, ending with his patient lists being stolen by the assailant.
Months later, Gu would take the knee — not only to protest White supremacy, but to reclaim his self-dignity which had been taken from him on that fateful night. Surprised by the virality of the tweet, he didn’t expect the flood of notifications he would receive from people all over the world — including the angry mother of a patient.
“The mother of a hospital patient started cyberbullying me on Facebook as a result of the uproar,” he wrote. “She posted a screenshot of my tweet, claimed that I was pushing my political agenda at work, and invited all her friends to make disparaging remarks about me. I hadn’t met her at that point. When I did meet her weeks later after being assigned to care for her son, she rudely told me to leave the room in front of my whole team.”
Unfortunately, the saga did not end there — after the altercation, the VUMC placed him on administrative leave for “complaints that VUMC has received from patients and external sources.” His access to his patient records revoked, he was escorted off the premises “like a criminal”.
After that, the investigations began, with every complaint lobbied by the mother being taken very seriously by the organization. “It looked like their primary goal was not to uncover the truth but to destroy me,” Gu stated. “I soon found public Facebook posts in which the mother proudly stated that she was talking with administration officials at VUMC about having me fired or placed on leave and revoking my access to her son’s medical records. They have followed her advice to the letter.”
It seems the advice was followed further, as Gu now must find a new job.
I took a knee to fight white supremacy after I was attacked at Vanderbilt hospital by a white supremacist. It is absolutely unconscionable for Vanderbilt to fire me for peacefully protesting against racism. pic.twitter.com/LD2QMrEsst
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) May 31, 2018
In an exclusive statement to NextShark, Gu elaborated on his dismissal:
“While Vanderbilt hospital claims that professionalism and performance issues led to my dismissal, those allegations are patently false. It has been quite clear from the very beginning that the hospital has been retaliating against me for speaking out about the racial discrimination and bullying that I experienced within the hospital walls.”
This is a tweet Vanderbilt’s general surgery program forced me to delete:
“A patient did not want me to take care of him because of my race and my chief went along with it, asking me not to step into the room. #Trump”
Then Vanderbilt’s unrelenting retaliation began.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 7, 2018
Gu then revealed details of the bullying he endured while working at VUMC:
“For instance, after I was subpoenaed by Congress for my medical research involving fetal tissue, I spoke out about the bullying and mistrust I experienced at Vanderbilt hospital in the midst of the Congressional investigation. When a Huffington Post article came out about it, my program director Kyla Terhune called an emergency meeting with all the residents in our large auditorium where we have our Grand Rounds presentations. Everyone berated and humiliated me very publicly in that auditorium, which was mortifying for me. Later, a chief resident told me that I ‘burned my backyard’ with that article and that Dr. Terhune was planning on punishing me for it by not promoting me to the next year.
“Later I made a tweet about a senior resident on the trauma surgery service elbowing me off the mobile computer station I was using to look up information on a critically ill patient. When I complained about it to Dr. Terhune, she still made me work with that same resident the next night despite my adamant safety concerns about what transpired. Given that I felt the incident was not properly addresses, I tweeted about it months later to express my feelings about how bullying is unacceptable in the hospital setting. Dr. Oscar Guillamondegui called me on my phone and berated me for tweeting about it, saying that it was unprofessional not to keep these details ‘in house.’
“Perhaps most harrowing of all, I took the knee to protest white supremacy because I was the victim of a white supremacist attack in the Vanderbilt hospital parking garage. When the tweet went viral and a patient’s mother complained, Vanderbilt suspended me for it.”
The newly unemployed physician ended by calling out doctors who are allegedly allowed to stay on Vanderbilt’s medical team despite being responsible for death and permanent injuries, while others, namely minority doctors, tend to leave the majority-White medical program:
“In terms of my performance, it is not being evaluated on the same basis as my peers. I’ve had co-residents make such egregious medical errors that patients have died or suffered lifelong disability. But there are no repercussions for them or any insinuation of performance issues. While I have never caused any patient harm even remotely at that level, I am the one now being accused of it. Vanderbilt should let the facts be known about the patient outcomes under other residents. It is also very curious that in a program that is majority white, every single resident to leave the program in the past 3 years have been minorities. I am the fourth.”
Gu has also recently made headlines for suing President Donald Trump on the grounds that blocking citizens from his Twitter account goes against the American people’s constitutional rights. He, along with his co-plantiffs, won their case and were unblocked by Trump on the popular social media platform.
I sued Trump and won. Thanks to the hard work of my co-plaintiffs, Katie Fallow and our legal team, and the Knight First Amendment Institute, the President of the United States just unblocked me on Twitter. Not even Trump can infringe upon our First Amendment rights. pic.twitter.com/8Gf7vM59l8
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 5, 2018
Gu is currently seeking a new place of employment.
Feature image via Twitter / eugenegu