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Nov 14, 2010

Find the difference

Jewish doctor refuses to treat Nazi tattoo patient

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010
The tattoo.

The tattoo

A German Jewish doctor has refused to operate on a patient after seeing a Nazi tattoo on his arm.

The patient, in the city of Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia, had a graphic on his arm of a swastika and the Bundesadler (Imperial Eagle), the German national symbol adopted by the Nazi party.

According to the newspaper Bild, the doctor said it would go against his conscience to treat the 36-year-old man.

He told the patient's wife: "I'm Jewish. I will not operate on your husband".

Since the Holocaust, the display of Nazi symbols and regalia has been illegal in Germany. A breach can result in a three - year prison sentence.

In a 2009 study researchers found that five per cent of 15-year-old German boys belonged to right-wing extremist groups.

Can Muslim Doctors Refuse to Treat You?

Do Muslim doctors have the right to refuse treatment to an alcoholic or an individual with an STD?

Well, some Muslim medical students in Britain, due to their religious beliefs, are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases. Some are even going so far as to refuse treatment to a member of the opposite sex.

The article, posted on Times Online, reports:

The [General Medical Council] said it had received requests for guidance over whether students could "omit parts of the medical curriculum and yet still be allowed to graduate." Professor Peter Rubin, chairman of the GMC's education committee, said: "Examples have included a refusal to see patients who are affected by diseases caused by alcohol or sexual activity, or a refusal to examine patients of a particular gender."

He added that "prejudicing treatment on the grounds of patients' gender or their responsibility for their condition would run counter to the most basic principles of ethical medical practice."

When did we give doctors the ability to pick-and-choose their patients? If a doctor treats an alcoholic, is he condoning alcoholism? Of course not.

If Muslim doctors refuse to provide the same services to both men and women-and treat ALL diseases-then they should not become doctors. It disgusts me when doctors and pharmacists anywhere in the world deny men and women basic access to medical care due to their religious beliefs. We see it everywhere in the United States when pharmacists refuse to fill a woman's birth control prescription. What will stop Muslim doctors from refusing patients who do not share a belief in Allah? When will it end?

First, Do No Harm to Your Political Party

Can doctors refuse to treat patients based on their political beliefs?

Is a right-wing doctor allowed to unload his left-leaning patients?

Incensed by the recent passage of health care reform, Florida physician Jack Cassell taped a sign to his office door advising Obama supporters to "seek urologic care elsewhere." Cassell does not plan to quiz would-be patients on their views, but many bioethicists believe he crossed the line of professional conduct. His actions raise the question: Can doctors refuse to treat patients based on their political ideology?

It depends on the circumstances. Hospitals and ambulances must provide emergency care to everyone regardless of citizenship, ability to pay, or any other criterion. But the government has not yet enacted a universal right to basic or preventive care, which means a private provider can refuse to treat a walk-in patient with a sore throat or a bum knee, say, just because he's wearing an "I Love Obama" pin. The exception here is if the doctor and his liberal patient had a pre-existing relationship. Turning away a current patient-whether by explicit instruction or passive-aggressive signage-constitutes abandonment, a potential violation of both professional ethics and the law. In order to sue successfully for medical negligence, the patient must prove that he was in need of care, that his doctor terminated care without giving proper written notice or helping to find a replacement, and that he suffered an injury as a result of the doctor's breach of duty.

From a civil rights perspective, Cassell is probably in the clear. While the law bars physicians from excluding patients on the basis of traditionally protected classes like race, religion, national origin, and disability, most jurisdictions permit political discrimination. One notable exception is the District of Columbia, which, along with a handful of other cities, specifies that it's not OK to discriminate based on political affiliation.

Even if the Florida urologist's stunt does not constitute unlawful discrimination or abandonment, he certainly violated the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics. According to Opinion 9.012, "Under no circumstances should physicians allow their differences with patients or their families about political matters to interfere with the delivery of high-quality professional care." But the AMA is merely a club, and its sanctions have no teeth-especially since Cassell isn't even a member. Pointing to the code as a statement of national consensus on professional standards, an aggrieved party could lodge a formal complaint to the state licensing board. A revocation of license would, however, be unlikely for this particular offense. At worst, the board might require the physician to receive several hours of ethics training.

When Your Doctor is a Muslim: Medical Terrorism Comes to America


Joseph Applebaum, Z”L*: Muslim Doctor Refused to Treat Him, Let Him Die

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