Doctor told patient to 'go back to Africa'
Published: 09 Feb 2011 08:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2011 08:57 GMT+01:00
A woman from Borås in western Sweden has filed a discrimination complaint against a health clinic after she was told to go back to Africa and get help from a medicine man for pain in her legs.
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Sara Elmi visited the Viskafors health clinic last summer for advice for how to deal with the pain caused by a serious leg infection, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported.
As Elmi attempted to describe the problem, the doctor concluded that the patient was unable to gave a sufficient explanation and didn't even bother to carry out an examination.
Instead, the doctor offered Elmi some rather unexpected advice before ushering her out of the exam room.
"Go back to Africa and get help from a medicine man in the village you come from," said the doctor.
Elmi subsequently visited the Skene Lasarett hospital where she was told she had a serious infection related to varicose veins.
Elmi, who is originally from Somalia, considered the doctor's statements to be racist and degrading, and has filed a complaint against the clinic with Sweden's Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO).
"We hope this results in the DO stating clearly that this is not acceptable," Elmi's boyfriend, Hassan Saad, told SR.
A spokesperson for the Swedish Medical Association (Läkarförbundet) condemned the doctor's statements as "totally unacceptable".
"There's no way to defend such comments," Tomas Flodin, chair of the medical association's ethics committee, told the radio station.
A representative from the health clinic refused to comment on the matter, citing the ongoing investigation.
The Local reported in late January that a nurse in Norrköping in eastern Sweden said to a female patient, "If you don't like the system, go to Ukraine" after she requested to have an immediate appointment to deal with a pressing medical condition.
After taking her case to the media, the patient was informed she had been granted an appointment.