Monday, February 19, 2007

Turn The Other Cheek...Unless It's Tattooed.

I'm not a fan of tattoos. I would never have one inked into my skin, but that's personal preference. I don't begrudge other people their bodyart, even if they look like the unfortunate gentleman on the right. And I also feel bad for teens who ink their favorite bands all over their bods (I love Alice Cooper, but...). I also reserve a special place in my heart for those kids whose ink runs over their necks and heads, it must make after college job interviews very interesting for them.

All that being said though, here is a news story that got my dander up.

According to different sources, a family in Bakersfield, California was refused services for their young daughter because the mother had tattoos. Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services explained that he was following his beliefs, creating a Christian environment for his patients.

The story I am paraphrasing from, which appeared on a local television news show, went on to quote the doctor, who refused to go on camera , as saying that he has standards for his office based on his values and beliefs. That means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements (not sure what that meant).

Yeah, nothing says "Christian" like refusing to treat a little girl for an ear ache. Can't you just see Jesus turning away a child because her parents didn't live up to his standards?

The medical community is probably in an uproar, right? No, according to the AMA, and other doctors, Merrill has the right of any other business to decline service to anyone. And that includes patients who chew gum. I'm sure there's something about gum chewing in the New Testament.

If you want to read the full story, then go here for Channel Seventeen. Pictured to the left is the little girl who the good doctor was too moral to treat.

31 comments:

Claudia said...

I guess he took the hypocritic (sp?) oath instead of the Hippocratic.

Lucas Pederson said...

Excuse my language but, what a F@#king bastard! That's not Christan, that's plain mean, evil almost. I mean, come on! The little girl is sick, she needs help, the Christan way would be to help her for Christ sake, not deny her! (Breathe)
I've got two little girls of my own, and I'm sorry, this just ticks me off to no end. The guy's a doctor, not the Pope!

SQT said...

This is wrong on so many levels. I hope the bastard gets excommunicated from his church. (yeah yeah, not very Christian of me, but who gives a damn?)

Jay said...

That's pretty sickening.

Travis said...

Evidently even such a highly educated individual can still be ignorant and call it moral.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey, Darth Vader looks like he may start sagging.

Danny Tagalog said...

Yes, well many doctors do begin by being servants of the public, but when the money starts coming in, and the long hours affects them - some may well begin to be arrogant and choosy.

I think most doctors visits are symptomatic of a need for a BIG DADDY figure in some patients lives. And this feeds their ego's...

That doctor is not worthy of the name.

Stewart Sternberg said...

You know, I have always had a problem with the title DOCTOR. Consider the use of that prefix to a name. Dr. Jekyll. Dr. Killdare. It reeks of elitism and class stratification.
Do we call someone Plumber Carter? Carpenter Samuels? or Pl. Carter. Crp. Samuels? Pretentious.

deslily said...

hmmm I guess i'm on his chit list then.. I have a small tattoo.

nice guy...not.

SQT said...

Stewart

It must bug you to no end when academic PhD's insist on being called "doctor." I've had a couple of teachers with their doctorates who wouldn't allow you to address them any other way.

crunchycarpets said...

It really bothers me that the association says the doc has a right to pick and choose patients.

This whole trend worries me.
Specially when it is based on so called religious mores.

I don't think a doctor or a hospital should have ANY right to turn a patient away.

The term Doctor was supposed be for respect for their sacrifice and education....not for the snob appeal.

Mind you in the UK your own doctor won't see you unless you are really lucky. You will be seen by a nurse instead.

Charles Gramlich said...

Unfortunately, I agree that the guy has a right in his private practice to treat whomever he choses. However, after this incident comes to light what should happen is that no one, ever goes to him again. Let him eat his principles, although as stupid as they are he wouldn't get much nutriative value from them. This behavior is not Christian and should be "loudly" condemned by all true Christians. As well as everybody else.

Matt said...

Funny. I just made a doctor's appointment ten minutes b/c I have the flu. Since I'm self-employed, I'll be paying in cash.

The receptionist said, "We don't participate in any insurance programs," to which I replied, "That's great b/c I don't have any!"

We're just a business and customer making an exchange. And that to me is a bit strange.

spyscribbler said...

This kind of stuff drives me crazy. I hate when other people act holier than thou when they're not, and I hate it when certain religions try to tell me what to believe. Just my personal pet peeve.

But then I suppose of freedom is like my own religion that I believe everyone else should believe ... so I'm a hypocrite, too.

Stewart Sternberg said...

claudia, I agree. This man doesn't follow Christian principles. Lucas, it's odious when someone allows a child to suffer. SQT, true, too true.

Jay, it's offensive. Travis education is no indicator of compassion. Danny, Charles..he has the right to withhold services. Of course, if anything had happened to that little girl, then his insurance company would have been extremely unhappy about the lawsuit.

deslily, I'll bet the tattoos were pagan in nature. Crunchy, I know it's a difficult issue, but everyone, as Charles says, has the right to make a living in any way they see fit.

SQT, I've had some tense moments in academia with my stance on the officialdom of titles. Being an old lefty of the Eugene V. Debs category, it annoys me to see people who become victims of class stratification perpetuated by our social and economic system.

Matt,we need to get you some better insurance.

Spyscribbler, I love freedom, and as I've said, this doctor has the right to do what he did. I just hope the people in the community have punished him. Who knows, maybe his office has received a large portion of emails expressing displeasure.

Crunchy Carpets said...

'Crunchy, I know it's a difficult issue, but everyone, as Charles says, has the right to make a living in any way they see fit.'

But is being a doctor the same as any old profession....just making a living?

I really think that giving medical care to someone who needs it should not be a pick and choose situation...unless their is real grounds for it..like the person is dangerous or something.

I tend to feel that a doctor should answer to a higher calling...and not just use it for bigotry and ignorance.

Meander said...

that is just...absurd. now i am going to be mad all night. what in the world?

Stewart Sternberg said...

Sorry Meander..but sometimes righteous indignation does a body good.

Crunchy, I understand this is frustrating, but I don't think too many people become doctors because they have a higher calling. I think it's because of the status and the money. And then there are the doctors' wives...

Donnetta Lee said...

Stewart: I thoroughly agree with snob aspect of the PhD. I'm married to one and he (prior to retirement) refused to put any "credential" on the wall of the health clinic where we worked. Sure, he kept his credentials current and his employer had the records. But he never flaunted anything. I always admired that. And me, well, I work full time with a low income, high risk population because somebody has to do it. I don't have long red fingernails nor do I pay $100 for a hair cut. Needless to say, we shy away from those types. And the world is full of those types. They have always rubbed me the wrong way. I still sometimes feel I get "looked down on" because I chose to work with the kids and their families that I did choose--that is, by the professional community. But, oh well, all the moms and dads of my students- with their tatoos -don't seem to feel that way. Donnetta

Christina said...

It's these ideas of moral standards that are really starting to anger me and I don't want to go into an angry rant. What I will say, is that these "Christian" people in medical fields are starting to deny women birth control for those same religious purposes. Not everyone is cut out to be parents and I don't think someone should have the right to make that decision for someone. As you can see, my rant has to do with this extremist point of view.

Susan Miller said...

Coming in late on this one but just have to say, "It takes all kinds." Doctors are typically not the gods we like to think they are. There are pricks in every walk of life. He may suffer in his business or he may become the most popular Nazi physician in his area. I hope the former will be true.

etain_lavena said...

THAT is HORRID......well I will get that ass in hell;)......

Sidney said...

It's good to know there are people out there protecting us from those who practice self-expression.

miller580 said...

I have one almost as good. I was out with some friends this weekend. My friend is a mom of a young teen 13ish I think. She takes her daughter to the the doctor for a check up and while she is there, she asks about the new "HPV" vaccine. For those who don't know, HPV virus is linked to cervical cancer and is transmitted through sex. This vaccine is supposed to prevent the virus and is effective when given to younger girls.
Now mom is no hurry for daughter to have sex, but the vaccine will prevent cervical cancer.

Her doctor's response, and I quote, "rather than giving her the vacinne, why not teach her abstinence."

Now this is not my kid, and I don't go to this doctor, nor even know his name. But sitting in that resturant I was so mad I wanted to punch him right in the face.

It will be one hella of a day when the real "Christians" in this country stand up and take there religion back from the fanatics and zealots. Maybe even start practicing the works of Christ. I mean isn't that what "Christianity" is about. Spreading his word?

Avery said...

The sad thing about this is that the doctor obviously has a full patient load -- or enough to stay in business. That means there's a good number of people out there who read his policy, agree with it (or say nothing about it for fear of losing their doctor), and thereby reinforce his delusions of piety.

I'd like to see a group of people without tats sign up as patients and then each pop in for their next visit with a brand new set of tats. The AMA states physicians can't get rid of established patients unless they find another doctor willing to take them on. It's a huge pain in the ass for them. He'd be saddled -- for a time, at least -- with those he deems unworthy to treat.

jedimerc said...

Curiouser and curiouser... down the rabbit hole we've gone... I'm not a fan of tattoos myself (or most forms of body art and piercings, but I don't like needles touching my body unless they have to regardless of if it hurts or not), but I have never refused a customer based on body art... hygiene on the other hand, but if you've ever been to a sci-fi/anime/comic convention you understand the hygiene issue... and 99% of the time I just hold my breath, smile and sell my product. In the end, it's just business, and personal has nothing to do with it :)

Stewart Sternberg said...

Donetta, I am the greatest hypocrite of all, I think. I despise elitists while remaining one of the most appalling snobs of all time. Maybe. Sometimes. Sort of.

Get him Etain. Yeah, Sid. By the way, Sidney, I'd like to see you in a tat, maybe something with bat wings, demonic eyes, and forked tongues wrapping around virgins screaming in perpetual agony...maybe.

Sue, the most popular Nazi in his neighborhood. It scares me to think what kind of neighborhood that would be. And how many Nazis would there be in that neighborhood?

Avery,I like that strategy. I like any strategy that is ingenious and annoying.

Jim, that is a horrible story. Horrible. If I had been there and her father, I would have punched him.It would have been uncontrollable.

Lee said...

I wouldn't want a doctor like that to touch me or my children for any price.

B said...

What's that saying " thou shall not judge"??? or am I wrong

because I just quoted that I won't say what I think of him LOL

good day everyone!

Turnbaby said...

My experience has been that , as soon as someone starts telling me what a "good Christian" they are the very next words from their mouth will be something heinous and vile

It's all in the doing--not the saying

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am sickened by those who use their religious beliefs to run a superiority game on "Others," and thereby justify the most heinous behaviors.

I am only comfortable with peoples' religions when they don't mix them into every other aspect of their lives, and mine.