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Can Muslim Doctors Refuse to Treat the Opposite Sex?

Health & Wellness  (tags: Religious Principles vs. Professional Du, Muslims, Islam, Medicine, Treating the Opposite Sex, Duty to Treat, Right of Conscience, Ethics, Ethical Rules, Discussion )

- 2081 days ago -
Discussing a report that some male Muslim medical students in England claim the right not to learn how to examine females because of their faith's requirement of modesty between the sexes.

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Paula M (39)
Friday October 5, 2012, 3:19 pm
From the article:

I strongly believe in a robust–but limited–right of medical conscience. A few years ago, I wrote an article in First Things proposing some criteria, among which were:

* Conscience clauses should be legally binding.

* The rights of conscience should apply to medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes as well as to individuals.

* Except in rare and compelling circumstances in which a patient’s life is at stake, no medical professional should be compelled to perform or participate in procedures or treatments that take human life.

* The rights of conscience should apply most strongly in elective procedures, that is, medical treatments not required to extend the life of, or prevent serious harm to, the patient.

* It should be the procedure that is objectionable, not the patient. In this way, for example, physicians could not refuse to treat a lung-cancer patient because the patient smoked or to maintain the life of a patient in a vegetative state because the physician believed that people with profound impairments do not have a life worth living. [And, doctors would not be able to refuse to treat based on gender.]

* No medical professional should ever be forced to participate in a medical procedure intended primarily to facilitate the patient’s lifestyle preferences or desires (in contrast to maintaining life or treating a disease or injury).


Antonia Windham (6)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 7:33 pm
Sounds to me like those dissenting Mohammedan male students're lacking what it takes to be a good doctor.

Refusing to treat an entire sex's too broad to be considered a legitimate "conscience" exception in my opinion. A doctor's supposed to learn how to treat human beings - not just half the population. And in an emergency a doctor's got to have that competency.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 10:31 pm
With so many doctors refusing to do this or that, one will soon have to canvas all the local doctors and hospitals to find out which ones will prescribe a contraceptive, which ones will not be competent to treat women, which ones have certain religious beliefs and so refuse certain treatments in accordance with their religion, and so on. One will have to do this prior to becoming ill, so one hopes to be able to conduct the research before one is in need of emergency treatment. It's becoming ridiculous, and patients are suffering. If you wish to become a dedicated doctor, then you treat all people and all illnesses, no matter what. If you want to discriminate, then do something else.

Marie W (67)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 11:36 pm
Why bother to become a doctor if you opt out of everything?

Seda A (4)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 4:08 am
noted, thank you.

paula eaton (30)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 4:19 am
If a Muslim doctor refuses to treat someone of the opposite sex then that is their choice. I would not want a doctor who refuses to treat me on tbe basis of gender. It seems like a violation of the hippocratic oath.

Amanda C (0)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 7:56 am
wow thanks

. (0)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 9:58 am
Another example of Muslims making their own rules. As paula eaton wrote:"It seems like a violation of the hippocratic oath."
As a doctor, your bound to heal the sick; regardless of sex, race or religion.

Evelyn W (15)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 12:10 pm
These men should go to school in a country where their preference is accepted.In England,like many countries a doctor treats both sexes.You want to go to school in England,or America... treat both sexes.

M B (62)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 12:46 pm
I agree with Evelyn W.

Helen Porter (39)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 1:24 pm
I don't want a doctor treating me who doesn't want to.

marie C (163)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 2:36 pm
YES Evelyn W how dare they as usual bring religion into it
Also as usual Allan Y has put it beautifully hit the nail on the head

valda p (13)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 3:39 pm
Would this mean -women -even muslim women in their own countries wouldn't be treated by muslim Doctors?who could they go to ?there wouldn't be many women Doctors,if they are going to be selective in who they will and won't treat-they shouldn't be a Doctor-or a chemist, or a nurse ,but I do understand -if you take an oath to preserve -life -how could you perform an abortion on a healthy foetus?in England recently it was reported -muslim nurses -for modesty reasons -keep their arms covered,and in doing so aren't as hygenic as the main stream nurses and so there is more risk of -infection -as I am gong into hospital soon for major surgery -I would refuse to have a muslim nurse around me-this is not just -stupid but a very dangerous practice to patients -if they can't and won't abide by the rules -don't go there ,and those who allow this would surely be open to prosecution if the patient did get infected.

Tom Edgar (56)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 4:11 pm
Of course he CAN, But SHOULD he, Absolutely not. If you can;t abide by the rules find another profession that second rates women, e.g. a Pope,Priest or an Imam.

. (0)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 4:20 pm
Noted but no comment.

janet f (29)
Sunday October 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
Why would these people be given a license to practice medicine when they're effectively refusing to treat 50% of the population? Let them be doctors back in their country where this is an acceptable prcatice.

yonette O (392)
Monday October 8, 2012, 1:24 am
Not very confortable with an oppsite sex doctor maybe, but cannot let a person die !
If they have such mentality, they must choose another job or employ two doctors: one for women, one for men at once!

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Monday October 8, 2012, 2:18 am
May be he is a lunatic he should not study to become a doctor but become preacher

Monday October 8, 2012, 5:26 am
Here we have someone whose religious choices hinder him or her from performing their professional duties adequately. The only reason I can figure out for this person demanding to train for and practice medicine in a Western country would be for an opportunity to foist their religion on that society. Whether or not a medical student pays University fees, a major part of the expense is paid for by the British tax-payer. I strongly object to having my tax money used in any way to support or promote any religion.

Past Member (0)
Monday October 8, 2012, 7:32 am
They can specialize in areas where they only deal with same sex problems then.

Lindsay K (6)
Monday October 8, 2012, 8:49 am
This seems ridiculous. If ill, or needing to seek medical advice, I wouldn't want to think that there is even a possibility that the doctor, nurse or consultant is thinking in this way! If I need medical help or advice, I need it, and shouldn't have to worry about the medical professional's thoughts!

Rin S (10)
Tuesday October 9, 2012, 3:09 am
I think that they can choose what to learn because of their religion, as they are allowed to believe in what they want to believe. However, I do believe that that disadvantages them and it is a shame that they are not allowed to learn to their full potential.

Jo Ellen H (3)
Tuesday October 9, 2012, 5:28 am

Mike m (9)
Wednesday October 10, 2012, 12:52 pm
I'm not opposed to Islam, but I wouldn't go to a doctor who failed to treat women, just like I wouldn't go to a Christofascist Doctor or Pharmacist who didn't respect abortion rights. The way to fix this sort of foolishness is to not pay them.

Frans B (582)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 4:09 am
different strokes for different oke's. respect that, although few will UNDERSTAND that.......
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