Johns Hopkins Hospital says it’s undertaking a “thorough internal review” of an alleged incident that’s gone viral on social media, in which a mother wrote that an anesthesiologist there made insulting and racist comments to her son before a procedure and had him pee into a bottle instead of letting him use the bathroom.
In a Facebook post on Sept. 11, a woman identified as Aishah Bahiyyah said she brought her son to the emergency room at Hopkins Hospital after he suffered an injury while playing basketball. She and her son were entering the operating room, she wrote, when they met with Dr. Robert Greenberg, an anesthesiologist at the hospital and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, as well an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine for Hopkins Medicine, per an online bio.
Greenberg “grilled us on what we did for a living as if he wanted to make us the butt of his joke to his colleagues,” she wrote. “Upon learning we were professionals he then rushed my son and I to the [operating room] telling us to hurry up.”
By her account, when her son first said he had to use the bathroom, Greenberg replied that “he could give my son a box,” an offer she wrote she did not understand.
“My son was then given a bottle to urinate in, in the hall with no privacy, and when my son commented that it was weird urinating in the container Dr. Robert Greenberg commented don’t worry you’ll get used to it in prison.”
Bahiyyah, who could not be reached for comment via Facebook, wrote that she reported Greenberg to the hospital and “won’t be satisfied” unless he’s terminated.
Her post includes three pictures of her son—two of him lying in a hospital bed and another with him sporting a Chicago Bulls jersey—along with a photo of Greenberg. It’s been shared more than 38,000 times in the last week.
Hopkins is aware of the alleged incident she described, a spokesperson said.
“We take this matter very seriously, and we began looking into this as soon as we became aware of the situation,” Kim Hoppe, Hopkins Medicine’s director of public relations and corporate communications, said in an emailed statement. “Our goal and expectation is for every employee to provide a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for every patient and family member or loved one.”
“Actions or statements like the one described are unacceptable to us. We are conducting a thorough internal review and will take all necessary steps based on the findings.”
Johns Hopkins University and Health System personnel have been “attempting to interview the family directly, and will continue to locate and interview all persons here who may have been in the room at the time,” Hoppe said in an email.
According to Greenberg’s Hopkins Medicine bio, he holds a medical degree from Georgetown University and completed two residences at Hopkins Medicine, one in pediatrics in 1988 and another in anesthesiology and critical care medicine in 1991. He has his own research lab with Hopkins Medicine concerning anesthesiology and critical care-related topics. His other areas of expertise include pediatric acute pain management and pediatric anesthesia.