• Sweden edition
 

Woman turned away by doctor - for being American

Published: 29 Dec 2006 11:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Dec 2006 11:51 GMT+01:00

An American woman has been refused treatment by a doctor in Blekinge in southern Sweden because of her nationality. The woman's husband has now reported the incident to the Medical Responsibility Board.

Valery Johansson, who lives in a small town just outside Nashville, Tennessee, was in Sweden to celebrate Christmas with her husband's family.

On Christmas Day, worried that she may have contracted strep throat, she sought medical help. Her husband and niece made an appointment for her at a clinic in the town of Karlshamn.

"We went up there and the nurses were really nice. They did some swab tests, which they then passed on to a doctor," Johansson told The Local.

But when the American woman, accompanied by her husband and niece, went to meet the doctor in his treatment room, he declined to examine her.

Rather than introduce himself, the doctor waved the patient's papers and shouted "she doesn't have strep throat, she doesn't have strep throat". He then added that he would not treat her.

"He said he didn't like Americans," said Johansson.

He also disliked hearing English spoken in his treatment room and soon walked out.

"We just couldn't believe it. We were left standing there with our mouths hanging open," said Johansson.

According to Johansson, the doctor was a Palestinian who objected to American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Her niece followed the doctor into the office to confront him but was told: "I don't deal with people like that".

When Johansson returned to the clinic the following day she was met by a manager, who apologised and encouraged her to report the matter to the Medical Responsibility Board.

The nurses were also embarrassed by the doctor's behaviour and repaid the 820 kronor that Johansson had handed over in advance for her treatment. They too advised her to report the doctor.

In the report Johansson has claimed that she was discriminated against on ethnic grounds.

Before returning to the United States at the beginning of January she also intends reporting the incident to the American Embassy in Stockholm.

TT/Paul O'Mahony (news@thelocal.se)

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