Just another sexist and racist encounter at the hospital


After many failed attempts to get an appointment at the surgery, I decided I was not going to endure another restless, sleepless, sweaty, tossing and turning night, so I dragged myself to my local Accident & Emergency/Walk in Center. At the entrance to the hospital is a big sign that reads, “If you have flu, stay at home, and call your GP”.  Well, I have flu-like symptoms and I have spent the last three days trying to get an appointment with my GP to no avail.  Majority of the NHS surgeries now have a rule that one can only book an appointment on the particular day within the hour of 8:00am -9:00am. Anything outside that, one would have to wait until the next day and start the process again. The problem is, as soon as it is 8:00am, the line becomes engaged. Try every minute and you will keep getting the busy tone. It is frustrating.

Anyway, I decided I have not been diagnosed with Flu, I needed treatment, and i am not going to self-diagnose or self-prescribe. Therefore, I walked to the reception room, and requested to see a doctor.

The following discussion ensued-

Receptionist- What is the problem?

Deciding to downplay the Flu symptom and focus on other symptoms, I said

Me – I am just feeling weak and dizzy

Receptionist – How long?

Me- About three days now

Receptionist- Have you recently travelled out of the country?

Me- No.  I don’t have Ebola.

For a minute there, the receptionist was flustered.

Receptionist-  No, I don’t mean that, I am just asking, yes I have to ask.

Me- Yes, I know you have to ask. I have not travelled anywhere recently and No I don’t have Ebola.

At least that got the other receptionists, the waiting patients within hearing distance and myself laughing. BTW, that was just a funny exchange, an effort to lighten the mood as well as draw attention away from my “flulike” symptoms. NO, that is not the sexist, racist encounter this post is about.

I took my seat with the other patients who were waiting to be seen by nurses and doctors. The screen says waiting time to be attended to by a doctor is “approximately 3 hours”. I wished the chairs were comfortable enough so i could lie down and go to sleep. I thought, “It is a hospital waiting room, what interesting thing could happen?” I had too much of a headache to bother going online to check my facebook newsfeed on my phone, so I busied myself with reading the health tips on the TV screen. The repeated, scrolling health tips got boring after a while.

At a point, a black female nurse came in and called the name of a patient. A white British man stood up and loud enough for almost everyone to318461_10150505434059409_883031157_n turn around, he addressed the female nurse as “Hey baby” and followed her in a kind of patronising manner.  I looked at the nurse; obviously, she was not too pleased about being addressed in that sexist tone when doing her job. However, her professionalism took over. She offered him a curt “Hi, how are you doing”.

I immediately had the man pegged down as a sexist asshole. His language, body manner, and patronising attitude all point towards him being a regular sexist asshole.

As a woman, I know how frustrating it is to be patronisingly addressed in the workplace as “baby”, “dear“, or “sexy” by male clients and male work colleagues. With some more waiting hours to kill, I ruminated a bit more on this and tried to give the man the benefit of doubt. I thought, maybe he was just trying to feel good and liven up the atmosphere albeit in the wrong manner. I tried to rationalise his lousy behaviour, I tried to make excuses for his sexist, patronising attitude.

Not long after that encounter, the man came back into the waiting room. Another black nurse, this time a male nurse came in and announced a name, he called the name a few more times but wasn’t getting any response. The white man I already had pegged down as a possible regular sexist asshole turned around and asked the black male nurse to pronounce the last name again. The nurse did and asked if he was the one. The white man shook his head in the negative.  He turned around again and this time condescendingly said, “No, No, you look too dodgy to me, you wouldn’t be the one treating me, no.”

Damn, I was sure there was an uncomfortable silence in the room. The stunned silence must have made the man realise just how bad his remark was, so he turned around again and muttered something along the line of “I don’t mean offence, just that you don’t look like you would be treating me.”  The black male nurse was a bit taken aback, but he smiled and just let it be. Now, definitely this man is not just a sexist asshole but a raging racist as well.

Which goes to show that sexism and racism seems to like each other’s company.

As if that was not enough, this white man stood up, went over to a white British woman who was sitting at the front row. He was going outside for a few minutes and wanted the white woman to take note of his name in case it was called in his absence.  The woman nodded. However, to the amazement of almost everyone in the room, this bigoted man rudely exclaimed, “You are the only one in this room who speaks correct English!”

WTF! Even the white woman was embarrassed. We watched the man make his lousy way out of the room. That man was an insufferable sexist,racism  racist, bigoted ignoramus.  It was a University Teaching Hospital in East London and the waiting area had a good number of whites, blacks and Asians. I still do not know how he got it in his head that the mix of people in that waiting room could not speak “correct English”.

He started with blatant sexism which I was even trying to excuse away to myself albeit unconvincingly. He removed all doubts by topping it up with blatant racism. He then outdid himself with a public show of ignorance, bigotry, and contempt for everyone who is not British enough for him!

It is sad that in this century, we still have people like this man living amongst us. What an insufferable, sexist, racist, bigoted pig (apologies to pigs)!

Comments

  1. says

    What a wanker, hope the woman explained to the nurse that he’d gone and they should let the next person in when his name was called. Also hope you are feeling better, seems like the visit to the doctors probably won’t have helped.

  2. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Thanks oolon, I am feeling better now although the visit to the hospital did not help much.The long waiting hours combined with the sexist , racist crap did not provide the best environment to heal. I hope that wanker got assigned a black female doctor who would not hesitate to put him in his place!

  3. says

    this bigoted man rudely exclaimed, “You are the only one in this room who speaks correct English!”

    I’ve often wondered how many medical mistakes are guys like that, where one of the nurses just “accidentally” queued them up for a colonoscopy. OOPS!

  4. smrnda says

    I’ve heard similar horror stories from waiting rooms, and it’s always made worse by the fact that it’s harder to stomach these things when ill or in pain.

    It’s odd that the guy jumps up with ‘hey baby’ right away -- is here there to get medical treatment or is he there to hit on women? And what, is he waiting for the right hot white female nurse to call his name?

  5. says

    That’s just plain disgusting! Pretty sure that kind of behaviour would have seen him escorted off hospital property in my small Canadian city. By cops if he resisted hospital security.

    Pigs aside, I hope you’re feeling better?

  6. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    The experience was really gross. What was more disturbing was the fact that the nurses shrugged off his sexist and racist comments as if it was normal behaviour. If anyone had spoken to me like that in my workplace, told me that i looked too dodgy to be a doctor cos i am black, i would have had security escorted them out!

    There was a security officer /police officer at the premises and i wish the black male nurse made a complaint, instead of shrugging it off. However, the reality is, the police man was also white, the black male nurse probably has white seniors and he might end up being called OVER-SENSITIVE. In addition, i am sure he does not want to lose his job. Therefore, people just learn to shrug off those encounters of sexism and/or racism to avoid confrontation.

    I wished i had called out the hideous man, maybe then the security would have been involved. I had a throbbing headache, burning ears and a bad sore throat and could barely speak, (I was literally voiceless), but i still wish that man was challenged.

    I realised the encounter was bothering me so much that i had to write about it. And one thing i just realised is that the complacent of the nurses also bothered me and sadly I understand why as black immigrants in a white land, they do not want to make a fuss. That is also sad.
    Btw, I am feeling better, thanks everyone! 🙂

  7. tmscott says

    I would be disgusted and dismayed, but that would also be tempered with some pity, for what a sad, small, and insular world that man must live in.
    BTW- I hope that you’re feeling better.

  8. kevinalexander says

    …one of the nurses just “accidentally” queued them up for a colonoscopy. OOPS!

    They’d have to get his head out first.

  9. sonofrojblake says

    the nurses shrugged off his sexist and racist comments as if it was normal behaviour

    This suggests you don’t get out much. Try working a Saturday night in A&E some time. Bigotted comments from an unarmed, non-violent, sober individual will start to sound like Thought for the Day.

    If anyone had spoken to me like that in my workplace, told me that i looked too dodgy to be a doctor cos i am black, i would have had security escorted them out!

    The concept of refusing another person medical care on the basis of their expressed political views is absolutely abhorrent, regardless of how repugnant those views may be to you personally. I take back the recommendation to work a shift in A&E -- you’re not fit to be a healthcare worker.

  10. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @sonofrojblake-

    This suggests you don’t get out much. Try working a Saturday night in A&E some time. Bigotted comments from an unarmed, non-violent, sober individual will start to sound like Thought for the Day.

    Actually, these are not just bigoted comments, they are racist, sexist comments that reek of white male privileged . Also, Violence is not only committed by armed, drunk people, violence comes in different shades.

    The concept of refusing another person medical care on the basis of their expressed political views is absolutely abhorrent, regardless of how repugnant those views may be to you personally. I take back the recommendation to work a shift in A&E — you’re not fit to be a healthcare worker.

    These are not mere political views; they are Racism and Sexism. Employers have a duty to provide a racist and sexist free workplace and that includes the A&E. There is a reason workplaces including hospitals have notices on their wall stating, “Abusive behaviours towards staff members will not be tolerated”

    Whatever you might think, choosing to work as a healthcare worker is not consent to tolerate abusive behaviours especially not from “an unarmed, non-violent, sober individual”

    regardless of how repugnant those views may be to you personally.

    Actually, racists comments are not just repugnant to me, they are repugnant to every human rights law that governs the State. The fact that you think the racist and sexist comments of this abhorrent individual is just “Bigotted comments from an unarmed, non-violent, sober individual” ,and that my reaction to it is just me looking for “Thought for the Day” and a matter of personal repugnance, says a lot about the kind of person you are.
    BTW, feel free to take back your unsolicited recommendation, after all you chose to dish it out even though I never asked for it. 🙂

  11. Meggamat says

    @Yemisi Ilesanmi- I think the problem is, that in the UK, healthcare is considered something that the government is forbidden to not provide. As a libertarian, I have some issues with this, but to claim that it is OK to deny it to people because they said something disagreeable seems to go against the policies upon which the NHS was founded, which are used to justify the taxes we all pay.

  12. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Meggamat -- Every worker, be they public or private worker, has a right not to be subjected to abusive behaviour and that include NHS Staff. These are not just mere “disagreeable” comments, NHS staff members have a right to be protected from racist and sexist comments, It is a good thing that NHS centers have notices warning that abusive behaviours towards staff members will not be tolerated The fact that we pay taxes to fund the NHS is not an excuse to deny its staff members protection from abusive behaviours.

  13. Ralley says

    “Actually, these are not just bigoted comments, they are racist, sexist comments that reek of white male privileged . Also, Violence is not only committed by armed, drunk people, violence comes in different shades.”

    Didn’t you have a post about how Richard Dawkins was grading rape and how that was disgusting? Why are you doing it to bigotry then?

  14. Birric Forcella says

    Sorry to comment to late, but I have to mention this. This is a prime example of how shockingly abusive attitudes can sneak in without even being noticed. Talk about rape enabling.

    Never mind escorting the guy out. Markus Regnum in #3 suggests (and apparently hopes it happened many times before) that the punishment for this behavior should be what amounts to anal rape. In #4 Yemmy gleefully agrees.

    My jaw dropped reading this. Apparently it’s only rape if it happens to someone on our side.

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