A doctor in Oregon has touched a nerve with a series of tweets revealing that some “white nationalists” have refused treatment from her because of her race.
Esther Choo, an emergency physician and associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, according to Refinery 29, described on Sunday how she treats those patients with “compassion” because “the best thing I can do is make sure their hate finds no purchase here.”
Her words resonated with other medical professionals who retweeted her and said they have had similar experiences.
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“We’ve got a lot of white nationalists in Oregon. So a few times a year, a patient in the ER refuses treatment from me because of my race,” tweeted Choo, who received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine, according to her bio.
“I don’t get angry or upset, just incredulous over the psychology of it. The conversation usually goes like this …
“Me: I understand your viewpoint. I trained at elite institutions & have been practicing for 15 years. You are welcome to refuse care under my hands, but I feel confident that I am the most qualified to care for you. Especially since the alternative is an intern.”
And, she wrote, “they invariably pick the intern, as long as they are white. Or they leave. Breathtaking, isn’t it? To be so wedded to your theory of white superiority, that you will bet your life on it, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary?
“Sometimes I just look at them, my kin in 99.9% of our genetic code, and fail to believe they don’t see our shared humanity.
“You know what gives me hope? A few get uncomfortable and apologize in the same breath they refuse to let me treat them. You see … it’s a hell of a hard thing to maintain that level of hate face-to-face.
“I used to cycle through disbelief, shame, anger. Now I just show compassion and move on. I figure the best thing I can do is make sure their hate finds no purchase here.”
Chelsea Clinton was among dozens of people who applauded Choo for speaking out.
Choo also found support among other medical professionals, including pharmacist TJ Franky, whose Twitter bio says he lives in Lee’s Summit.
A trauma team at the University of Virginia tweeted a photo of themselves with this message: “The multicultural trauma team at @UVA waiting to care for casualties from the white supremacist rally.”