The Current·LISTEN

What can doctors do when they face racism from the people they're trying to help?

We look at patient racism in the doctor's office, and what a physician can do when a patient demands treatment from someone with a different skin colour.

Scottish doctor's tweet about patient interaction sparks global response

Doctors have responded to a viral tweet about a patient asking for a different doctor, based on race. (Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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An exchange at a medical office in Glasgow is focusing international attention on the racism doctors sometimes face from their patients. 

It began when a patient told the receptionist that they didn't want "an Asian doctor" — within that doctor's earshot.

The receptionist stuck up for Dr. Punam Krishan, who is Scottish. But when Krishan tweeted about the incident, doctors around the world replied to say the scene was a familiar one, including here in Canada

To discuss the discrimination that doctors can face from the people they're trying to help, and what they can do about it, The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay was joined by:

  • Dr. Alika Lafontaine, an anaesthesiologist and former president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.
  • Dr. Kulvinder Gill, a specialist in allergy and pediatrics, and president of Concerned Ontario Doctors.
  • Dr. Uché Blackstock, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, and a director in the faculty's diversity affairs office.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Produced by Samira Mohyeddin, Ines Colabrese and Sarah-Joyce Battersby.