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Cultural and religious beliefs

Nadira Ansari, a middle aged Muslim woman, has a post-op with Dr. Smith, a woman, to make sure her head is correctly healing from the surgery. Dr. Smith has been unexpectedly called out of the office and Nadira is now forced to visit with Dr. Callahan, a man. Her cultural and religious beliefs prohibit her from removing her hijab in front of any man who is not her husband. Dr. Callahan is culturally insensitive to this situation and becomes very frustrated.

0:00 Nadira is waiting in Dr. Callahan's office. Dr. Callahan enters.

0:01 [Dr. Callahan] Hello Nadira, I'm Dr. Callahan, I am filling in for Dr. Smith. Looks like you had a very successful surgery last month. (looking at her chart) How has your recovery been?

0:11 [Nadira] (Quietly, with broken English) Well, thank you.

0:12 [Dr. Callahan] I'd like to begin by doing a quick examination of the location of your surgical wound just to make sure you're healing correctly and everything looks healthy. May I ask you to remove your (he pauses) head covering?

0:23 [Nadira] No, I cannot remove my hijab.

0:26 [Dr. Callahan] Nadira, I want to make sure that you are healing from your surgery correctly and in order to do that, I need to take a look. Did Dr. Smith not tell you this would be part of your follow up?

0:37 [Nadira] Dr. Smith is a woman. And you are a man, and I cannot remove my hijab in the presence of a man who is not my husband. That is why I came here, to see Dr. Smith. She can be the only one to do my examination. If Dr. Smith cannot be here today, I will have to reschedule my appointment.

0:59 [Dr. Callahan] (Showing frustration) Alright. Why don't you wait here a moment and I will check and see if she is on her way.

1:05 Dr. Callahan exits the exam room.

1:13 [Dr. Callahan] Elizabeth, I'm glad you're here. This patient of yours is giving me a heck of a lot of trouble. I'm trying to examine the sutures from her surgery, and she won't remove her hijab. How am I supposed to a post-op checkup with her?

1:23 [Dr. Smith] Nadira Ansari? Well I understand Michael, it's part of her cultural religious beliefs that a woman may only remove her hijab in front of her husband. Even if we don't fully understand it, we need to respect those beliefs when treating patients. Well, I gotta go check on Ms. Ansari, what room is she in?

1:43 [Dr. Callahan] 3B

1:44 [Dr. Smith] Thanks. If you want to catch up later to talk more about this, we can do so.

1:50 [Dr. Callahan] That would be great, I'll catch you at lunch, 'bye!