In the wake of a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead, a doctor of Chinese descent says that in her 10-plus years of practice, many patients have refused to let her treat them because of her race.
Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency room specialist in Oregon, related her experiences attempting to treat white supremacists in a Twitter post on Sunday that has since gone viral.
All in a day’s work
Choo said that even after explaining her training and experience, and expressing confidence in her ability to treat them, racially biased patients typically chose to be treated by a less-qualified white intern, or they simply got up and left.
1/ We’ve got a lot of white nationalists in Oregon. So a few times a year, a patient in the ER refuses treatment from me because of my race.
— Esther Choo (@choo_ek) August 13, 2017
In subsequent interviews, Choo noted the presence of “a lot of white nationalists in Oregon.” She also doesn’t believe her problems dealing with prejudicial patients are unique to her. She’s heard from many health professionals who say it happens so frequently they now just consider it part of the job. There were times she felt disbelief, then shame, then anger. Now, she says:
“I just show compassion and move on.”
When asked if she’d ever had success changing the mind of a patient who initially refused treatment because of her race, Choo said she had, but that it was very rare. On occasion, she was able to negotiate a compromise by having a white intern see the patient while retaining responsibility for recommending treatment. While the patient was technically still hers, she wouldn’t actually enter the examining room.
The Hate Is Spreading
In its annual report on U.S. extremist groups, the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center pegged the number of hate groups at 917 last year, up from 892 in 2015. The number of anti-Muslim groups rose from 34 to 101 during that time.
Image Source: Wikipedia