Doctor Becomes Symbol in Affirmative Action Debate

Sep 22, 2015 by

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It would be hard to find a better example of misguided but well-intentioned actions to close The Gap than the famous Bakke Decision.

The one qualified went on to become a respected anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic while the quota admission who originally replaced him went on to kill some minority people and be barred from practicing medicine.

Health: Policy’s backers cited South-Central physician’s successes. Now license suspension gives critics ammunition.

Dr. Patrick Chavis, to his admirers, was not just a successful black doctor: He was a symbol of what was right and just about affirmative action.

Admitted to UC Davis Medical School in 1973 under a special minority program later successfully challenged by white applicant Allan Bakke, Chavis made it his mission to return to the area where he grew up, making his home in Compton and his obstetrical practice in Lynwood.

“I went to medical school with the intent of coming back to South-Central,” said Chavis, 45. “I could have gotten a home in Palos Verdes, but these are the people I choose to live and work with. They are like my mother and my father.”

In glowing media profiles, he came across as a dedicated urban soldier, and affirmative action proponents–including U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and state Sen. Tom Hayden–publicly embraced his example.

Just two weeks ago, Eva Patterson of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights touted Chavis’ achievements as a physician over those of Bakke, a Minnesota anesthesiologist. Her implication: Affirmative action had favored the best man.

It turned out to be an unfortunate example. Late this spring, the Medical Board of California accused Chavis of seriously injuring two patients and stashing them at different times in his home, and of abandoning a third woman, groggy from surgery, in his office. Hours later, that patient, Tammaria Cotton, 43, died at a Lynwood hospital. The board suspended his license to practice pending a hearing that may end his career.

Source: Doctor Becomes Symbol in Affirmative Action Debate – latimes

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