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55-Year-Old Female Patient Diagnosed With "Ghetto Booty"

Update Date: Jul 16, 2013 04:14 PM EDT
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A 55-year-old female patient who suffered severe lower back pain said that she was furious when a sports medicine doctor in Tennessee diagnosed her with "ghetto booty".

Terry Ragland decided to get her lower back pain checked out at Sports Orthopedics & Spine in Jackson, Tennessee. She said she had been to the clinic before to get knee surgery.

After undergoing a series of X-ray scans, Dr. Timothy Sweo came in to tell Ragland his diagnosis.

"He said 'I know what the problem is. It's ghetto booty,'" Ragland told WREG in Memphis. "I think I blacked out after he said ghetto booty. I think my mind was just stuck on the phrase because I couldn't believe he said that."

Dr. Sweo told Ragland that while there is no cure for her condition, he could prescribe medication to help with her pain.

Afterwards, as she was leaving the office, Ragland complained the office manager about Sweo's comment.

Later, she received a letter from Dr. Sweo, addressing the incident. In the letter, Sweo explained that he "was trying to take a technical conversation regarding your lower back and make it less technical." He said he was trying to explain to Ragland her lumbar lordosis, a condition where the curve of the lower spine makes the buttocks protrude more.

However, Sweo's letter only made Ragland angrier.

"It says to me that he doubts what type of intellect I have, how intelligent I am to be able to understand what he conveys to me in a medical term," Ragland told WREG.

Afterwards, when WREG reporters contacted Sweo, he apologized for the comment.

"What I was trying to explain to that patient is that she has lumbar lordosis, which is a fancy name for the curve of the lower spine that makes the buttocks protrude more," the doctor said. "In trying to explain that I said that she had ghetto booty, and she didn't like that apparently. That was my attempt to explain why she had the back problem."

Ragland has filed a formal complaint with Tennessee's Department of Health, which will determine whether the doctor will be sanctioned, according to the Daily News.

"I think I do understand why her feelings were hurt but I don't understand what's offensive about it," Sweo said. "That was probably inappropriate. She certainly felt that way and I won't do that anymore."

"It's not endearing. It's not loving. It's not a compliment. It's wrong in every aspect and it's very demeaning," Ragland said.

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