Today’s Moron: Dr. Kamelia EliasJanuary 27, 2009
This one really rankles me. How can someone go through medical school and practise medicine for 20 years and still be this stupid?
When Andrea and Ginette Markowski, a same-sex married couple in Winnipeg, heard Dr. Elias was accepting new patients, they made an appointment and went to meet her (doctor shortages are a chronic problem in Canada; many people don’t have family doctors, and when a GP starts accepting patients, there’s usually a rush).
During their interview, the Markowskis say, Dr. Elias told them she had no experience treating lesbians, and they would be better off finding a doctor with relevant experience. What? So they’ve filed a complaint with our human rights commission, which investigations allegations of rights abuses.
All of this sits firmly in the “alleged” file, until you open today’s Winnipeg Free Press and see an interview with Dr. Elias. This is what she said:
“They get a lot of diseases and infections. I didn’t refuse to treat them, I said it’s better to find someone who has experience and will take this type of patients. There (are) some doctors who can treat them.”
Elias said lesbians and gays sometimes develop “sexual problems” and other diseases that she would be unable to treat, and she has never treated homosexuals in 20 years of medical practice. It was not made clear whether she asked every patient about their orientation. She just seems to know.
Canada’s human rights laws forbid doctors from discriminating based on sexual orientation (or on any other grounds). They’re also not supposed to pick and choose patients (but a lot of them do it, and we know they do it, and they know we know but don’t care, because they’re doctors). So the Markowskis have a case, I’d say.
I suspect there’s a cultural issue at work here. Dr. Elias is from Egypt, and Canada is seeing an influx of new doctors from all over the world. In many of these countries, old taboos are still in play, and they might be arriving on Canadian shores along with these doctors. So maybe that’s a factor. After careful consideration, this is my opinion on that subject: Bullshit.
We’re Canada. We are a multicultural mosaic and we are proud of that; I live within a hundred-mile radius of food, music, dance and culture from hundreds of countries. And I like that. I don’t like these old-world attitudes being brought here, though. Part of coming to Canada means incorporating those customs into that mosaic while accepting the way things are here and adjusting those beliefs. I’m not talking about assimilation, I’m talking about adaptation.
I hope the Markowskis find a doctor soon. And I hope Dr. Elias wakes up and stops being so close-minded. We need her.