Netherlands: Muslim women and health care

According to medical specialists the demand that Muslim women be treated only by female doctors brings up life threatening situations, for the doctor as well as for the patient.

"It passes all bounds. Your belief doesn't give you privileges," says Utrecht radiologist Floris Sanders. "In health care everybody is treated equally."

The professional journal "Medisch Contact" brings this week examples of acute situations in which male doctors couldn't do their job because of cultural or religious reasons. Sometimes the doctors was even physically threatened by male "guards" who had come with the veiled women to the hospital.

There were also cases when specialists had been forced to arrange transportation to hospitals where female doctors were available. That led to situations which put the lives of the women and their unborn children at risk.

According to Ben Crul, chief editor of Medisch Contact, this must be immediately dealt with, as soon patients will refuse a black, homo or Chinese doctor. The discrimination of male doctors must stop and doctors must be very clear that they're not going to play along or somebody will die.

The Labor Party will bring up the issue in parliament. Parliament member Khadija Arib says that those men put the lives of their wives at risk, and she wants to see whether it's possible to criminally prosecute them.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

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