Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Monday, 10 January 2011

Bringing Politics Into It

One of the reasons I don't subscribe to Mishpacha magazine is because of the high level of annoyance I experience when reading many of their articles.  During a recent visit to the wife's parents during which I had some spare time I did pick up a copy and confirmed my opinion quite quickly.
On one page, for example, they reported on a recent incident somewhere in Europe where a Jewish doctor had refused to operate on a patient with a swastika tatoo.  The blurb concluded with the results of a survey showing that only 34% of Jewish doctors asked disagreed with this physician's stand.
I was quite bothered by this.  In my job one comes into contact with people from every ethnic group imaginable. Either you're working with them or you're treating them, it's unavoidable and given that the goal of working in medicine is to treat patients with illness, there is really no place for politics or personal views that interfere with the care of the patient.  We, physicians and nurses, are not judges, juries or executioners.  When the sick person presents, it's my job to fix him.  When another physician or nurse needs help, I don't care about their background or beliefs.  Our goal is to help the patient so I leave my politics at the door.
Except this morning I didn't.
Every so often I take a final year medical student on for their six week Family Medicine rotation.  I enjoy teaching and the challenge of making sure I know the latest information so I can effectively guide these young 'uns in their training.  One again, I've had students from various backgrounds and gotten along with all of them.  After all, politics has no place in the teaching of medicine and that's what I'm there to do.
But today I got an e-mail from the university that I'd been assigned a student starting next month.  The name was ethnic and suitably vague so my first question was: Boy or girl.  And even the person who e-mailed me wasn't sure.  So I did what any (ir)responsible person would do: I Bing'ed him.
I'm not sure if it was a mistake or a good idea.  The first couple of listings were pretty innocuous.  He's involved with the university medical journal, he's won some scholarships in the past, pretty standard stuff for a medical student.
And then this came up:

Print Out For Future Reference: Meet HAMAS’ Future American Doctors

By Debbie Schlussel
On this site, I’ve written in extensive detail about (and compiled a long list of) the various Muslim doctors who’ve headed terrorist groups, perpetrated terrorist plots, and, in at least one case, deliberately let his Jewish patient die by refusing to treat him(right here in America). And don’t forget Dr. Yazeed Essa, the Palestinian Muslim doctor, who drugged and murdered his pregnant wife in a car crash, then fled to the Mid-East. Today, he was held on $75 million bail (he was finally returned to Cleveland from Cyprus to face justice, after a year and a half of Muslim Cypriot pontificating).
Now, I want you to print out this list, below, of all of America’s (and some Canadian and foreign) medical students who are open supporters of HAMAS against Israel. They’ve all signed an anti-Israel (and let’s face it–Pro-HAMAS) petition that is circulating throughout the world’s medical schools and medical communities. (Since this list is constantly updating, I’ll try to update it, too.) If they have no problem with Islamic terrorists brutally murdering innocent civilians, imagine what they have no prob doing to your body.
Guess what?  His name was on the list.  And then this:

Did you know that one of the 39 Principles of Jihad is that "Every Moslem has to obey the call for the Jihad against the infidels out of sheer belief and intention"?
Another is that "Every Moslem has to take an active part in the holy war against the infidels, being ready to self-sacrifice for the sake of Allah."
Each and very Muslim is also supposed to praise, encourage, protect (and give good advice to) the fighters of Jihad, or  Mujahideen.
Another Principle -coming somewhere after "Aquiring Shooting Skills" and before "Expressing Hostility and Hatred Toward the Infidel" - is . . .  Learning First Aid Skills.
And what better way to learn first aid skills than to become a doctor?
And on and on it went.  
Now for those of you who have never seen my office (which is pretty much all of you), it's not very generic.  I have seforim lining my bookcase.  I have a large map of Israel on my wall and mezuzos on all the doorposts. I wear a knitted kippah at work.  The wallpaper on my computer screen is of the Kotel.  There's no mistaking who I am and what my probably beliefs are, religious and political.  Somehow, I figured that this guy would simply not be a good fit.  So I called the Family Medicine folks at the university and did something I'd never done before: I requested that they give me a different student.
As far as this guy goes, he'll never know about it.  He'll get his rotation duotang and be assigned another family doctor.  There will be no indication that he was ever supposed to be with me.  I haven't denied him any opportunities and probably avoided a very uncomfortable six weeks of his training.  (After all, I don't start each day with a loud singing of HaTikvah but I could).  All in all I think I did the right thing.
Except I brought politics into it.  For all I know he could be a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders, an excellent future physician.  Outside of the Israel thing we might have had a lot in common and enjoyed working together.  But supporting Israel is so much a part of my identity, I don't know if I could put it aside.  It's one thing during a 30 second (if they get that long) patient encounter or a shift here and there, quite another to be together daily for six weeks.  I let my nervousness win.  Did I do the right thing?


SJ said...

This hamas guy should be in gitmo not in med school.

Bartley Kulp said...

Yeah, you did. It is one thing to work with an Arab. In Israel we have a lot of excellent Arab medical staff. They are heads of wards specialists etc.. I have no problem being treated by an Arab doctor or nurse here. Though I don't think that having to spend six weeks with a student of Jihaad would be productive use of your time.

Avraham said...

arab doctors in safed were definitely sabotaging their Jewish patients. But this problem i did not discover elsewhere in Israel. maybe it was just safed