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Doctor told patient to 'go back to Africa'

The Local/dl · 9 Feb 2011, 08:57

Published: 09 Feb 2011 08:57 GMT+01:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:36 February 9, 2011 by Brtahan
The doctors dont like taking appropriate examinations because i think they judge people from their backgrounds and how much money they have , so if a rich swede goes to the hospital and he is well know to the kommun he gets first place even if the law says he got to wait for 3 months , now lets say a poor swede he gets an appointment but much harder than the rich one but a foreigner no matter if he is rich or poor has to wait much more than the other two plus has to go through lots of headaches till he gets to meet a specialist , and if he tries to complain so they will remind him(that you are 3rd class citizen) sometimes directly like this article and indirectly like they said to me if you dont like to wait go to private hospital! and its much worse for people with black hair or skin comparing with the other foreigners who are blond but their names are not swedish!
10:45 February 9, 2011 by truthworthy
That doctor is clearly a racist who doesn't follow the ethics. Whether she can explain her problem or not he has no right to say to her such words.
10:55 February 9, 2011 by Willissteel
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:59 February 9, 2011 by UScitizen
I agree that someone making racist comments like that has no business practicing medicine. Even worse is the fact that a medicine man in an African village could sometimes provide better treatment than some of these so-called "doctors".
11:05 February 9, 2011 by Willissteel
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:35 February 9, 2011 by laviniutza
I dont wanna defend the dr., but what if she said something to him too. Not racist , but something that made him react that way? Or maybe she did something. We only have her version of the story.
11:50 February 9, 2011 by logi
the waiting time before one gets medical help is getting out of hand and should be reviewed. and for the woman probably there is a communication problem, atleast the doctor should have looked for somebody to do the interpretation proper.
12:04 February 9, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
yes if immigrant lives in sweden.dont expect alot from swedes.

just think doctors or nurse are very respectable occupation.just think if doctor or nurse say like that then what you can expect from this country. they dont allow immigrant in thier jobs.they only want to give benefits to thier own people. but thier own people cannt do nothing expect drinks.thats why saab and volvo has been sold.this country people are like this in any where you they will behave you like that and they try to keep you in pressure.

they are worse worse racist how the doctor can dare tell to patient go back to africa.he should not be a doctor he should be sweeper.

but your grown shows that you belong from which family.
13:40 February 9, 2011 by Diis
Am sorry to hear that from someboday who calls himself doc. He deserves to work in somalia specialy banadir hospital in mogdisho let him see the situation somalis undergo there,it's next to hell, traditional doctors live in sweden esp this racist doc.am sure he has no any qualifications so ever in medicine.he is just a jerk or a brat.
13:45 February 9, 2011 by Syftfel
Yet again, a story is short on detail. It says the woman was from Somaliland. It does not say if she is a lawful permanent resident, or an illegal alien. While emergency care should be given regardless of immigration status, legal/illegal makes a world of difference when a doctor says that a person should seek medical care in her home country, versus leeching off Swedish tax payers. It is also nor clear how familiar thos woman was with the nuances of the Swedish language. Is it perhaps possible that she misunderstood the doctor? Let us us hear the full story, not just half truths, in order for us to form an opinion.
13:50 February 9, 2011 by hunnysnowbee
I have to say what this doctor said to this lady was wrong! It does not matter what this lady may or may not have said/done, whether she may or may not have provoked this reaction from the doctor, the doctor still had no right to say it. He/she is a profession and should rise above any provoking behaviour, (if this lday did indeed provoke), and keep a profesional manner at all times. This is part of the job description for which they are paid to do.

I also have to say, I have only lived in Sweden for two months, and have had to take my 3 year old to the doctors. They couldn't be more helpful and were wonderful with my son. I have nothing but praise for their care of my son!

You can't say all doctors are bad towards immigrants neither are all swedes racist. That would be just like saying all immigrants are bad...that is not true either! As my mother always said and I totally agree, there are good and bad every where. Lets not tar all doctors, or all Swedes for that matter, with the same brush, just because some are not very nice!
13:50 February 9, 2011 by foxpur
It seems to me that Doctors would be LEAST likely to be affected by skin color. they know it's usually just melanin... and under the skin we all are pretty much the same. It just doesn't make sense.
14:30 February 9, 2011 by Uncle
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:53 February 9, 2011 by calebian22
For those who think that there is no excuse for the doctor saying something derogatory, think back to your own actions when faced with an unpleasant and confrontational person. Did you take the high road or the low road? Seeing familiar user names on this forum, I am guessing the low road.

However, the doctor could very well just be a bigoted turd. Then again this woman may have been a royal pain. My guess is a combination of both.
15:48 February 9, 2011 by VicTaulic
I would be willing to bet that the woman kept on harping that she saw similar problems back in Somalia that the local witch doctor could fix, or suggested that she would have received better care back in Somalia. Hence the doctors suggestion. Such a knee-jerk and calculated article like this is beneficial to no one.
15:50 February 9, 2011 by jimmy1988
Swedes are getting feed up of immigrants. My opinion by seeing this situation.
16:10 February 9, 2011 by Rishonim
I don't even bother to go to the doctors here in Sweden because the only thing they will say is: The fact that your kid is unable to poop in two weeks and has a temperature of 40 degrees is perfectly normal. He/she is probably fighting a virus. If this condition continues into the next two weeks please come back and see me. In the meantime take a couple alvedons. I think the doctor actually said to the woman to go back to Africa. A light bulb had exploded and some of it went into my girlfriend eyes and she was in tremendous pain. I drove her to see a doctor and after waiting for two hours at the vårdcentral the nurse told her they don't treat eyes here and she should go to the hospital. In Sweden if a woman is extremely attractive and if she is unlike to have an unreasonable looking Ulla Britt helping her; she'll get crappy treatment just as most foreigners receive.
17:05 February 9, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush
Well Africa does have the best Witch doctors, so He was unable to fix it Himself, ergo, the suggestion was Spot-on.

If the immigrant was indeed a citizen, then by all means she has the right to free medical care, if they are an illegal alien then their SOL.

There must be two sides to this story, perhaps the doctor was a calice SOB, or perhaps she was a damanding pain-in-the-butt...

Chances are it's the latter, if so, Yes, Please go back to Africa : )
17:16 February 9, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
I had a doctor here tell me to go back to America. This was in response to me asking him to explain what happens next, not being familiar with the system and all that. To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement, especially considering I've never even been to America.
17:19 February 9, 2011 by Brtahan
@uncle, you can read what i wrote again ! i didnt mention about paying , everybody pays the same fee but not everybody gets the same treatment or medical tests , some get treated properly while others they say to them drink water and take alvedon. From my own experience i had a problem the doctor in the hälsocentral didnt know anything so he started searching in Google about it infront of me! @uncle dont compare the worse with better compare the best with better. Am not saying the whole health system is not functioning but am saying its works only for certain people!!! While i was in India studing , iknow its a developing country but if you get sick you can see the doctor the same day even in government hospitals while private withing few minutes, here it takes 3 months to see a doctor who might know what he is talking about!!!
17:41 February 9, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
not only medical system thier overall system are for their own people not for the immigrant.

sweden is getting oil from whom?

sweden is getting vegatable from whom?

From where cotton comes?

if they dont like immigrants stop the immigrants but they should also not get oil and food etc from other countries.

they even dont accept american, britian german no other country.

so if you want to waste your time then stay in sweden.but if you want to do something in the life dont waste the time in sweden.even sudan is much better country.

Every Human is equal. No human comes from SKY and no human is special.

even if you learn swedish language and if you ask more questions they dont like you.in SFI they have no systematic plan.

even you cannt get toilet cleaning job.

if there own people can do or not but they want to give them 200% benefits.

they treat you like this that you get fade up and leave the sweden.

they are very good only on mouth or on talking, inside the heart they wont accept you.

this is truth
17:49 February 9, 2011 by kuntta
Why is everybody being so nice to this African woman? Where are all the extremists of the extreme right wing anti immigrants? Sometimes I come here to read your hate but today I'm disappointed. Maybe it is me who is just prejudice to expect hate all the time against immigrants
18:31 February 9, 2011 by calebian22

Is Sweden perfect? No. Was your country of origin paradise? No. Welcome to Sweden.
19:05 February 9, 2011 by Babe Soderbom
Did the Doctor not take a Hippocratic oath.
19:11 February 9, 2011 by Uncle

On what would you base your statement that only rich are getting a proper treatment ? Only on the fact that you are poor and you got a bad treatment? What kind of deductive logic is that? How is it better for the docs here to treat the rich faster? Do they get bigger tips? Do they enjoy a larger salary? What is it that you are talking about?

What drives me crazy is that 90% of the immigrants who arrived from the most racist countries in the world (which are almost all the 3rd world) start ¤&itching about racist Swedes, because Swedes apparently do not run to kiss them whenever they get off the plane.

Because apparently they do not provide top jobs to the immigrants for free and without any proof of experience. Because apparently some of them do not think that this country should be flooded by millions of medieval barbarians, who circumcise their daughters, beat their wives, threat with death to everyone they consider offensive to their beliefs and then also claim that all above not to be touched, because it is their sacred tradition. EH?
19:14 February 9, 2011 by blursd
This article is very misleading, and far from impartial. It's perfectly possible exactly what this woman said happened did happen, but keep in mind one very important fact ... the article is basing all it's information on, and assuming that this person's point of view is correct. It is also possible that this person is misconstruing the facts for some self serving purpose, or is leaving out important details she doesn't want other people to know.

I remember years ago here in the United States I had an African-American guy working below me who accused me of making racist statements towards him. The thing was I never said what he accused me of saying ... I never even said anything remotely resembling or that could be misunderstood as what he claimed I said. What really happened was I had to talk to him because there were problems with his work ethic, and he was taking frequent and unauthorized breaks ... I mean sometimes he would leave for a half-hour and just disappear when he was supposed to be working. Besides these obvious problems with his work performance I really liked the guy ... he was probably the best "people person" we had.

Anyways when I told him that there were some issues with his work performance he needed to improve on, and that if he didn't I would give him a negative performance evaluation that would added to his file (I gave him four weeks to improve ... which I could have just written him up without any warning). Then he started on this whining diatribe of how I was only, "picking on him because he's a black guy," and that " [I] wasn't writing up any of the white people for taking unauthorized breaks." I just kind of sat there flabbergasted for a second and responded, "that's because YOU are the ONLY employee who has this problem ... if anyone else starts doing the same thing I will have the same conversation with them." I never said anything that could even be remotely construed as a racist statement anywhere during our ten minute conversation -- there was no yelling, or threats ... nothing. A week later I find out I'm under investigation because this black employee accused me of making blatant racist statements against him, and unfairly threatening his employment. All he had to do was accuse me of saying something racist, and basically everyone assumed that is was true ... I had to prove that it didn't happen even though the only evidence they had was one person's accusation. In the end (after about two months) the investigators found the accusation to be completely unfounded, and I didn't face any type of discipline, but I mean all this guy had to do was make up a story and look what happened. The only reason this guy had made up the accusation of racist statements against me is because he wanted to get back at me, and get me in trouble.
19:58 February 9, 2011 by nsp
She was probably complaining about Alvedon prescription (which is step ONE in Swedish diagnostic medicin).

If you're being a pain in the dr a** as you'll finally get a comment like that. Even when by any means, you're right.

Welcome to the jungle xDDDD
20:24 February 9, 2011 by Uncle

Excellent story. Sorry to hear about your experience. What is interesting is that SUCH blacks cause a situation that ALL blacks are not hired any more. In a situation where every boss needs to be the closest friend of a minority because these minorities hold him a hostage of discrimination complaint, I can totally understand the caution with which minorities are hired.

Actually thinking about it, the story here is presented as true because this Somalian claims it to be true. That is it. She could have said that he threatened to kill her children and burn her house with the same amount of evidence.

The investigation was not concluded yet. Witnesses (if there were such) not questioned yet. But the wonderful The Local reporter presents it as a fact as solid as the rotation of earth around the sun.
20:48 February 9, 2011 by Israeli Jew
@Uncle #11

"The 3rd world is more racist than the 30's Germany and these countries immigrants dare to accuse Sweden in racism."

Are you drunk? Are you out of your mind? Or are you making these lies up just to argue about something invalid?

Many whites live in Africa and others go there for fun without any problem. Shame on you to bring up Germany and its other alliances (Swedes) who kept silent while others are being burned. Shame on you....

@calebian22 #12

"think back to your own actions when faced with an unpleasant and confrontational person."

Right now, I am reading complete nonsense text by an unpleasant and confrontational person (YOU, YES YOU: calebian22).

All I can say is that, you really have serious issues with your manners and morals. Good human beings should have or try to have good manners and morals, but obviously you lack both.

Someone making racist comments like that has no business practicing medicine or any other business, and should be punished.
21:13 February 9, 2011 by Uncle
Israeli Jew


There is a legal slavery in Central African Republic directed ONLY against pygmys.

In Rwandan Genocide 20% of Rwandan population was murdered on a basis of RACE. Huge chunk of these deaths took place be a machete. Close and personal.

This genocide was followed by Second Congo War in which 5,4 MILLIONS were killed on a basis of RACE.

In Sierra Leone civil war thousands lost their hands on a geographical and tribal basis. Close and ruthless.

In Zimbabwe every 4th white person (incl. women, children, old people, sick) were whether killed by being beheaded, burned or skinned alive or driven out of the country with no belongings. On a basis of RACE.

Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Angola, Mozambique - all had their share of camps, mass torture, mass burning, mass raping. All with much less technology than the Germans, but close, looking into the white of the eye, turning the knife slowly - you GET THE PICTURE? All of this happened in our times. Relatively fresh.

All of these countries with an addition of areas of China, India, Pakistan, Arab countries encourage racism and have it on a governmental basis. People actually THINK that they are superior to the darker people. They actually TRADE darker people. How is that not comparable to Nazi views?

Now if I were you, I would definitely take some relaxing pills and rethink some words of wisdom about manners, eh? You look a bit unstable.
21:32 February 9, 2011 by Israeli Jew
@Uncle #28

What a striking intelligence...I am not impressed though... a racist Nazi tries so hard to prove invalid point...

I am just very sad that we live in 2011 and there are still elements with VERY bad mentalities like yours and calebian22
22:44 February 9, 2011 by Uncle
Of course you are not impressed.

Your only counterarguments seem to be - quote: "racist Nazi", "drunk", "out of your mind", "making up lies", "do not have manners and morals". Frankly, I saw better arguments here. A lot of them.

So if someone claims that others behave LIKE Nazis is a Nazi, right? Because nobody behaves like a Nazi by definition invented by Israeli Jew, who seemingly does not give a jack about some 10 million (conservative estimate) civilians killed in African wars since 1950's.

Why not? Because they are blacks? Who cares about them blacks eh? Only the Nazis like me, probably. Open minded and equality cherishing people like you do not think that THESE killed are anything to be compared with the victims of the Nazis. You would rather to express your equality hunger through announcing everyone how racist this doctor was (adding me and Calebian to the team). Even if the claim was not proven yet. Way to go!

NOW I understand how the "moderate" muslim team here feels whenever some embarrassing islamist starts writing his opinions here. Chees. A lot to think about.
22:45 February 9, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush


Sweden supplied amunitions to the nazi's, and allowed trains, loaded with the Jewish victims, to pass through Sweden.

Even Sweden has dirt under the carpet.

I like the Jewish people, they are Very smart, strong, highly valued humans.

They are kind, and considerate of other peoples beliefs and cultures.

They have done more good for the world than any other religious group.

For one thing, Hollywood comes to mind. The Film and Music industry wouldn't be where it is today. Not to mention, Lawyers, Doctors and Bankers.

I have yet to see a Jew in western society today performing acts of Terrorism, Honor Killings, or Raping Scandinavian Women in the name of their religion. Or making demands on a Host country they reside in.

A few years ago, I attended a Beth Jacob Temple, as I was going to convert over.

But I was put off that I had to shell out $5000 to take special schooling in Los Angeles, a person should not have to pay to join a religion. Just Sayin'

I'm no fan of Hitler or Nazis, but if they existed today, I can only think of one particular group that preaches, but doesn't practice a "Religion of Peace".

If this did happen, I would probably strap an armband on and wave a flag in support of ridding the insurgent Terrorst back to their point of origin.

This world has had enough of their BS and it WILL be safer without them.

Cheers : )
22:46 February 9, 2011 by swedishpride
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:50 February 9, 2011 by Ivan Juric
I'm Australian and was in Sweden last August. Sweden in general is a beautiful country but I could not help notice alot of litter and cigarette butts in places like Stockholm and other areas where there were many third world migrants, some of them were drunk vagrants. I don't blame the general population of Sweden being sick of these migrants and the politicians that allow for this to occur. I am not racist as I'm of migrant background but I'm proud of being Australian and I respect this country and any country I visit.
00:20 February 10, 2011 by Israeli Jew

Morons have different kinds, Some morons know that they are morons and Others are about to find out. However, you are from the denial party who sadly will live their entire life as morons and everyone knows that obvious fact except themselves.... Congrats!

FYI... Ask yourself, How Africans have forgiven the whites for what they did to them?

BTW, I wonder why are you keep on mentioning "Muslims and Arabs".... it is pretty clear that you HATE them, and whenever you want to lash out at others you use them as examples to talk about irrelevant things to pretend that you know something...pathetic and funny at the same time....
05:06 February 10, 2011 by wenddiver
I live in the US and we have a wonderful system here, I pay my own bills and if I don't get the service I like from the Doctor, I write "Go to Hell" in his bill and send it back. I then go to any Doctor I want, since I control my own money!! I am free to go to any Hospital I want!!! If she is unhappy with the service in Sweden I suggest she go elsewhere also.
06:15 February 10, 2011 by NoVaseline
i think the doctor might not have been racist. He was right, in Africa, you can find many good witches. I personally prefer witches to doctors. I think he was misunderstood by the woman. Anyway no vaseline!
06:54 February 10, 2011 by sebwojo
i knew it must be some body from somalia .my fellow brothereen its high time we thought of working not all the time thinking of complianing.and wanting free money all the time .we always say swidish people discriminate have you ever seen a somalian with a non somalian friend??intergaartion
08:44 February 10, 2011 by Uncle
Israeli Jew.

Wow. You wrote a whole paragraph about me being moron. That is indeed an impressive argument. You got me decimated and overdebated here. What a luck that you did not have to resort to harsher names in order to win here.

In addition, what you got from what I said about the racist third world, is that I mention muslims for some reason (btw, I keep mentioning africans - mostly christians).

Not only you are capable of building a good argument through calling your opponent names, but you also are a genius in comprehending what has been said to you... That is astonishing.

You are whether 88 y/o or 13 y/o. In any case what is going to happen next is freezing out. Good job.
10:30 February 10, 2011 by calebian22
Israeli Jew,

Thank you for proving my point about the low road.

Why is the blame always one sided? Should the doctor have said what he allegedly said? No. Was this woman a doe eyed victim who was completely blameless? Maybe. Then again she could very well have a very large chip on her shoulder. The world is never black and white.

Seeing the world realistically does not make one a person with no morality. Realists are hard to come by though. I can see how realism might be confusing for you.
15:18 February 10, 2011 by Jack Mehoff
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:56 February 10, 2011 by calebian22
Let me paint a likely scenario since we only have one side of the story from the article.

The doctor is making recommendations about treatment. Every suggestion is countered with, "my medicine man back home said this, my medicine man back home said that."

Is the response, "well why don't you go back to Africa and visit your local medicine man," a bigoted remark or a response of frustration towards an ignorant person who will not listen? With the long wait times in Sweden for everyone, does a doctor have time to argue with a woman who does not respect western medicine?

We don't know what happened. We only have her complaint at this point. However, which is more plausible, that this doctor suddenly just made a remark such as this out of the blue, or that it happened under a similar scenario that I just described?
18:25 February 10, 2011 by loudasthunder
Yes, Please go back.

If they think they can get better treatment, make no haste!

C-U-L8R, Aligator : )
22:10 February 10, 2011 by buschmann
Swedes know that they will become a minority population in 50 years ,more or less. Of course this is a threating and disturbing thing for many. I would expect there to be lot of backlash.
01:58 February 11, 2011 by Boyfriend
The Doctor must be Sverige Democrat member.
09:08 February 11, 2011 by loudasthunder

"The Doctor must be Sverige Democrat member."

Does this... Trouble You? Why?

How do You know this to be true? Please, explain in detail, why the doctors' political choices, if any, would factor in?
23:33 February 11, 2011 by dan_sparrow
go sweden!!!!! this make me feel like taking all the money that i use to spend with my company and movin somewhere else
01:56 February 12, 2011 by peace voice
I am a foreigner and has aalways been treated in the same way as swedes in hospitals. I don't think a doctor can say such words to a patient as mentioned in this artical.
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