There I've said it. Unfortunately there's always a patient or two that we all subconsciously discriminate against because of some irrational, puerile reason. Sometimes far too absurd to imagine. Something I'm terribly ashamed of - so I have been working doubly hard to crush that ignoble feeling. And to treat the patient doubly well if possible.
Though most might deny such a fallible weakness, doctors are unfortunately human. Try as we might, our unreasonable prejudices don't just disappear the second we don our white coats. However I try my best to check myself the minute I think of such biased thoughts.
Forgive me for I have sinned!
Unlike one of my far less enlightened colleague.
Paul : So you didn't bring the patient in last night?
Colleague : She doesn't deserve it.
Paul : Eh?
Colleague : She has AIDS.
Paul : What the hell? Did you just turn a patient away for AIDS? You're kidding, right.
Colleague : I'm sure they're better served elsewhere.
Paul : OMG. You're serious.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Talk about blatant discrimination. I was shocked to hear such words come from a fellow physician. So much for the Hippocratic Oath on her part.
Getting a brief reprimand from me only served to put her back up. Despite logical facts presented on my side, she refused to budge from her hostile stand that people living with HIV should be treated as second-class patients. According to her, these diseased folk deserve all they get after indulging in indecent behaviour. Don't think it would need much of a push to have this junior Nazi insist that such patients get branded with HIV. Possibly in bold red font across the forehead.
I'm not naive. I know there's still discrimination aplenty against people living with HIV but you'd expect some misinformation from the uneducated yokels. But coming from a learned colleague of Generation Y ( someone I assume graduated from a reasonably reputable medical institution ) I find it seriously appalling. What the hell. All the speeches, all the lectures, all the media shows - all of those seem for naught. If someone like her really believes such detestable calumny, I can imagine what the rest of her less informed peers think.
Sadly it's almost impossible for a gay man these days not to have at least a friend - or two - with HIV. It could easily be any one of us. Hell it could even be me. So the more she bitched, the angrier I got. I think she might have noticed the throbbing vein on my forehead since she abruptly stopped her hate speech.
Nothing I said changed her inflexible stand however. Doubt anything short of a baseball bat to her head would change it. Who knows! Next I might hear a crazed diatribe against diabetic patients for some obscure justification on her part.