MUSLIM DOCTOR COMPLAINS: “My patient refused to let me treat her because of my religion.” Can you blame her? Don’t let Muslim nurses anywhere near you either, they have very poor sanitary habits. (I refused to allow a Muslim male nurse to touch me when I was in the hospital recently and they sent in a real nurse)
— Ali Sina (@AliSinaOrg) April 18, 2014
Washington Post (By Jalal Baig) “Making my rounds in the hospital one day, I put my stethoscope to a patient’s chest while she kept her eyes fixed on the television screen over my shoulder.
Hours before, bombs had torn through an airport and a train station in Brussels. My 65-year-old patient watched a flurry of images on Fox News showing unfathomable carnage, and I went through the all-too-familiar ritual of hoping that the perpetrators would not be identified as Muslim, that members of my faith would not be considered guilty by inexplicable association.
The sounds of my patient’s voice rose, eclipsing the thump of her heartbeat that I was painstakingly trying to hear.
She sounded distressed, anguished even, about the loss of the innocent lives on the TV screen. “These foreign people only come here to kill and ruin things,” she said. Then she said Donald Trump is right: America should ban all Muslims from immigrating here.
And then perhaps she noticed the subtle change in my facial expression. “I’m sorry, but your people and people who look like you make me uncomfortable,“ she said. She refused to let me treat her.
I stood aghast at the bedside, wondering how my years of medical training had been negated by the acts of a sinister few an ocean away (Not oceans away, right here)
I had understood, in the abstract, the threat of Trump’s demagoguery and petulance. But until that moment, the bile he spewed seemed confined to Twitter and to rallies in faraway places. I didn’t think it would ever reach me, a physician, born here in the United States. I should have known better.
A study published last year in AJOB Empirical Bioethics of Muslim doctors, who comprise 5 percent of U.S. physicians, found that 1 in 10 of these doctors has had a patient refuse their medical care because they are Muslim. Clearly my experience was not isolated. (There are a lot of Muslim doctors here from third world countries because hospitals can pay them less than American doctors)
I wondered what my responsibilities to the patient were in the face of this bigotry. And as I attempted to reconcile my desire to preserve my wounded personal dignity with the principles enshrined in the Hippocratic oath, I found my Islam.
Clarity arrived as I remembered one of my favorite verses from the Koran: “Believers, stand firm for God, be witnesses for justice. Never allow the hatred of people to prevent you from being just. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness.”
In the end, this was all part of my personal inner jihad, which literally means “a struggle.” For a Muslim, jihad means the struggle of the soul to topple the barriers which prevent the realization of a divinely inspired life, a life that promotes the virtues of compassion, understanding and justice. A selfish focus on my own damaged ego detracted from this purpose.
My decision to work as a physician in the public setting of a hospital meant that I was an ambassador for my faith, whether I wanted to be or not
Trump and others of his ilk have sought to sow division by stripping groups like Muslims of their common humanity. His candidacy has brought long-hidden rancor into the open, even into our hospitals.
The finest and noblest traditions of medicine, however, are transcendent. My personal faith subsumes the Hippocratic oath and preaches mutual respect and tolerance. These are the sources of my continued dignity.”
In France, some doctors even refuse to treat veiled Muslim women: