For the past eight years leftist Democrats have refused to link Islam with terrorism and proved quick to blame mental and emotional issues, as in the Omar Mateen case. In similar style, medical authorities disregard Islam as a possible motivator in cases of sexual misconduct by male physicians. Consider the case of Dr. Syed K. Zaidi, 41, of Granite Bay, California, a wealthy community near the state capital of Sacramento.
Syed Zaidi is a 1999 graduate of Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan, where he first served as primary care physician. In 2003 he entered a two-year residency in internal medicine at Columbia University, followed by one year in geriatrics at New Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Zaidi gained a one-year fellowship at Ohio State then in 2008 moved to northern California where he practiced with the UC Davis Medical Group.
There Dr. Zaidi was the subject of many complaints and he also drew bad reviews on internet forums. “Avoid at all costs,” one patient commented. “He doesn’t care about patients, because he doesn’t care about the patients’ families.” Dr. Zaidi does not talk to reporters, and his neighbors are reluctant to speak publicly about him.
In September of 2011 Dr. Syed Zaidi was arrested for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. His wife, Dr. Fatima Jafri, told police that in 2007 Syed broke three of her ribs and refused to let her get care unless she promised not to attribute the injury to him.
Dr. Jafri, also a Dow alum, provided evidence of repeated spousal abuse over period of years. Dr. Jafri declined to testify against Dr. Zaidi and the charges were dismissed.
More recently, three women accused Dr. Zaidi of sexual misconduct in the guise of medical practice. In the course of an investigation by the Medical Board of California, Dr. Zaidi denied the accusations, failed a psychiatric exam, and failed to follow the standard of care. Even so, Dr. Zaidi seemed to see himself as the victim.
“I have gone through a lot of trauma,” he told the board in late January. “My family – we have suffered.” He did not say if the three women had suffered and did not apologize to them. He did tell the board, “I feel sorry for these patients,” but the women had good cause to wonder about that, as the March 24, 2015 accusation document confirmed.
When patient J.E., 25, presented a skin condition on her foot, Dr. Zaidi discussed back pain even though this was not a problem. He then instructed the woman to fully undress and put on a paper gown. After an attendant left the room, the doctor tore up the gown and told J.E. “I’m not done examining you.” He then “cupped her naked buttocks with his hands on the full length of her buttocks, moving his hands up and down three to four times.”
He then performed a breast exam and “cupped the bottom of J.E.’s breasts and squeezed them.” Then he instructed J.E. to lie down on the examination table and pulled her knees apart “exposing her vaginal area,” while asking, “does this hurt your back?”
Patient L.A., 49, presented with a sinus infection but no cough. Dr. Zaidi “lifted her shirt and bra and put his fingers across her left and right nipples and listened to her cough through a stethoscope.”
When R.G., 35, came to refill a thyroid prescription Dr. Zaidi said he needed to give her a full physical examination before he could grant the refill, even though she recently completed a physical exam. He duly subjected her to a pelvic exam, and after the chaperone left, a breast exam. Dr. Zaidi then “ordered R.G. to stand up, remove her gown, then he took her hand, raised her arm over her head and twirled her like a dancer.”
The three cases were all a departure from the standard of care, and the gynecological exam before refilling the prescription was an “extreme departure” from the standard of care.
During a psychiatric examination, Dr. Zaidi was asked about the allegations and was “adamant that at no time did he do anything wrong nor anything that could have been interpreted as inappropriate or sexual during the examinations.” The psychiatrist also found that Dr. Zaidi “showed no evidence of remorse, guilt or regret.” When asked about the arrest for domestic violence against wife and child in 2011, as well as about earlier incidents, Dr. Zaidi “denied that any incidents of domestic violence ever occurred.”
In his report, the psychiatrist wrote: “I believe Dr. Zaidi’s sexual paraphilia, combined with his personality disorder, render him a danger to patients, especially as it relates to adult females who may be future victims of inappropriate sexual behavior under the guise of medical examination.” His prognosis, “is made worse by his underlying personality disorder as well as his lack of candor, insight, lack of impulse control and lack of remorse.” This raises another issue.
In Britain and other Western countries, Muslim men believe they are entitled to sexual favors from non-Muslim women, whether or not the women cooperate. Nobody appears to have inquired whether that dynamic may have played any role in Dr. Zaidi’s sexual misconduct. On religious questions the medical board’s policy is don’t ask, don’t tell.
Zaidi blamed his difficulties on what he learned from British doctors, with their alleged “paternalistic style” and emphasis on physical examination. That would seem to ignore Zaidi’s extensive American training at Columbia, New Jersey Shore and Ohio State.
His misconduct involved three women, but it was not three strikes and out for the Pakistani immigrant.
The California Medical Board did not lift his license and settled instead for five years probation. Some locals thought the board might have feared a lawsuit. Dr. Zaidi had claimed a female supervisor told him, “If you don’t like it, go back to where you came from.” So he had been mistreated, as one story had it, because of his “ethnicity.”
For other observers, it was all a matter of administration as usual. On the other hand, given the gravity of the offenses, in particular the “extreme departure” from the standard of care, patients could not be blamed for seeing the board’s decision as a case of special treatment.
Patients also had a right to wonder why the United States, with so many bright students and a network of top-drawer medical schools, seems to have such trouble finding doctors from its own ranks.