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Muslim Medical Students Refusing to Learn How to Treat Female Patients

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On October 9, 2012 @ 10:35 am In The Point | 12 Comments

Every now and then some conservative proposes that we staple green cards to any foreign student’s back right after he receives this diploma. I counter that proposal by proposing that stories like this be stapled to the front of anyone who thinks that’s a good idea.

The October issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics contains a case study involving Muslim medical students who refuse to examine female patients because it’s… against their religion.

A recent article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics grappled with that question in the context of male Muslim medical students refusing to learn how to examine females because they believe it is wrong to touch women to whom they are not married or related. The article argues—persuasively in my view—that medical conscience should not extend this far because it would result in future physicians lacking an “essential competency”:

And by essential competency, we’re talking about medical schools graduating Dr. Mohammed’s who have no ability or interest in treating the medical problems of half the human race. That’s about as essential as we can get.

This isn’t a minor technical issue. I blogged a few weeks ago about what the impact of gender apartheid medicine in Burundi is doing to Muslim women there.

There are only three female and 15 male gynecologists in the whole of Burundi. One of them, who wants to remain anonymous, says that she is always overbooked and that most of her patients are Muslim.

Burundi has some of the worst infant mortality rates in the world. The worst infant mortality rates in the world are in Afghanistan. Even Saudi Arabia, which is wallowing in wealth, has an infant mortality rate that is worse than the Israeli West Bank, which has access to Israeli medical services. As is life expectancy for women in Saudi Arabia.

Muslim gender apartheid has a number of troubling implications, but one of them is the denial of medical services to women. The more Muslim doctors we graduate, the more we will run into this problem.


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