When the patient is racist, how should the doctor respond?

Physicians and other health care providers need support from hospitals and colleagues to help manage patients who make racist or bigoted remarks.

The burden of discrimination can compound the stress of practicing medicine for physicians who are cultural and religious minorities. Hospitals have policies protecting against workplace discrimination at the hands of colleagues or supervisors. But when a patient is racist or biased towards a physician or other health care provider, there is often no recourse.

Through silence and inaction on this issue, hospitals may reinforce the isolation that clinicians of racial and religious minorities can sometimes feel in medicine. Particularly at a time when some Americans feel emboldened to speak and act in bigoted ways, clinicians need support managing patients who make derogatory and abusive remarks.

In the last rotation of my final year of medical school, I was asked to apply pressure to the femoral artery of a woman who had undergone cardiac catheterization to open her

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