Imagine the amount of time it takes to learn — all the specialized schooling and hands-on training — to become a life-saving doctor.
Then imagine being a doctor for decades with a perfect record, only to have it all ripped away with the stroke of a pen because of being unfairly labeled as a racist.
That’s the unfortunate story of esteemed British Dr. Keith Wolverson, who spent 23 years practicing medicine and helping patients, only to find out that a Muslim patient complained to the United Kingdom’s General Medicine Council, accusing him of “racial discrimination.”
The incident occurred after a Muslim woman brought her young daughter to his office at Royal Stoke University Hospital for treatment of a case of tonsillitis.
The doctor apparently had a difficult time understanding what the woman was saying about her daughter’s condition, as the niqab (which covers one’s face, except the eyes) was muffling her speech.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, Dr. Wolverson claims that he politely asked the woman if she could remove the covering so that he could understand what was going on with her daughter. Reportedly, the woman didn’t object to the request and removed the niqab.
And that was that, or so Dr. Wolverson thought.
Not long after, Dr. Wolverson received a shocking letter from the General Medicine Council, indicating that the woman’s husband made a complaint after he asked her to remove the niqab. The complaint said the doctor was told by the woman that she didn’t want to remove the niqab because of religious reasons. Dr. Wolverson denied the allegation.
But because he was then officially under investigation for “racial discrimination,” he was no longer allowed to practice medicine while the case was taken up by the council. The good doctor quickly found himself without options.
“Unfortunately I’m not able to work at the moment as I’m a locum GP and no-one will employ you while you’re under investigation by the GMC,” Dr. Wolverson said. “I feel I’ve been left with no alternative but to look at doing something else.”
When asked what the experienced doctor would do for work now, he replied, “Probably cosmetic work, botox, things like that. I won’t need to be on the medical register in order to do them.”
What a shame. It’s obvious to any reasonable and logical person that the doctor was not discriminating against the Muslim woman whatsoever. That seems clear, given that she allegedly removed the niqab without incident.
The case sparked such outrage locally that a petition was started by supporters, demanding that the GMC clear his good name and give back the man’s livelihood. More than 11,000 people signed the petition within 24 hours in an effort to rally behind the doctor.
“I’ve received a lot of messages of support since announcing my decision, which is a comfort. People have been almost unequivocal in backing me,” Dr. Wolverson said.
Here’s hoping the petition from his supporters gains enough steam to pressure the General Medicine Council to look at this case with reason and understand that the doctor was simply doing his job.
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