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    jbrimage's Avatar
    jbrimage Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Aug 3, 2013, 01:42 PM
    Can ask you where you are from based on how you are dressed?
    I have a friend that is a Muslim and dressed in Muslim attire to go to her doctor’s appointment. When she visited her doctor, she asked her "where was she from? My friend told her that she was from Massachusetts, Boson preferably, and the doctor said, "no, what country?" My friend stated, "The United States?" The doctor said, no, I mean where were you born?" My friend said in Boston, Massachusetts." The doctor than got aggravated and shook her head. I do not think she would have asked this questions so many times if my friend was not dressed in Muslim attire. Did the doctor violate any Hippa laws, rules or policies? My friend was embarrassed and horrified that the doctor felt the need to constantly ask her so many this question repeatedly and then became agitated when she did get the answer she was looking for.

    Thank you.
    Curlyben's Avatar
    Curlyben Posts: 18,472, Reputation: 1857
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    #2

    Aug 3, 2013, 01:44 PM
    Sounds like they where trying to make small talk and things got confused.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #3

    Aug 3, 2013, 02:06 PM
    Your friend should get over herself.

    It was a reasonable question and no, there are no laws prohibiting people from asking questions like that.

    A reasonable answer woud have been "You are probably wondering if I am from the mid-east because of the way I am dressed. No. I was born and raised in the U.S., if it's any of your business. I just choose to dress wierd like this. You have a problem with it?"
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #4

    Aug 3, 2013, 02:24 PM
    Hold your horses. 'Dress weird' is an odd response, but meant in a snide sense, as a jab at the doctor, not the connotation you are giving it. Your friend's 'horror' was out of line.
    The doctor needs to know of origins for medical reasons. Many diseases follow ethnic and regional trends. And your friend should be asking her own questions, so that we aren't getting second hand information.
    I'm a woman who went to an ear specialist once, concerned that the pain in my ear might have something to do with driving a motorcycle, with the wind whipping past my ears. The doctor asked me about 4 times if I myself was the driver. He was clearly shocked.
    Old man... what the heck. That was annoying too, but I didn't dwell on it.

    BTW it's not a HIPAA violation. Has nothing to do with HIPAA.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #5

    Aug 3, 2013, 02:42 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    ... 'Dress weird' is an odd response, but meant in a snide sense, as a jab at the doctor, not the connotation you are giving it. ....
    Thanks for the back-up, but no, I did mean it as a "jab" at the "friend" as opposed to the doctor.

    However I might personally view ones style of dress, to dress that way is her right and I respect that. Conversely, the OP should respect my right to have an opinion regarding her friend's style of dress.

    "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." If the friend chooses to exercise her right to dress in a way that appears weird to me, the doctor, and a lot of other people, she should be also prepared to deal with the reasonable curiosity as exhibited by the doctor.

    There is no law, nor should there be, which requires us to mask our sensibilities by stifling a reasonable question under these circumstances. And the friend would have also been within her rights to not answer the question.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,851, Reputation: 5428
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    #6

    Aug 3, 2013, 03:01 PM
    Sometimes we have to skillfully and gently educate even the well-educated professionals in our lives. Your friend could have said (for instance) her grandparents are from X country, settled in the Northeast, and she herself was born in Boston. Three years ago I had to diplomatically explain to my radiation oncologist that scribbling words and drawings helter-skelter all over a sheet of paper didn't help me understand the treatment I was about to go through. We reorganized it ABCD, etc.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #7

    Aug 3, 2013, 03:35 PM
    And even doctors can have prejudices and fears.
    Does your friend dress in black and look anything like the wife of the Boston Marathon bomber? Who knows what the doctor was thinking (I doubt that it was that at all). Your friend could have refused, explained, or left. I might have left... I recently canceled an appointment because the phone person was rude when I said I needed another Vicodin script (just started after 35 years of pain). She acted like I was a drug addict. I now have to find someone else. I am quick to walk out on what I don't like.
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,278, Reputation: 5644
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    #8

    Aug 3, 2013, 03:43 PM
    As a medical professional myself, I can tell you that the question by the doctor was appropriate. Why you ask? Because people of different cultures have different medical preferences. For example, some cultures will not allow a man to examine a woman.

    It is important for the medical personnel to know the different social and cultural practices of their patients so as to treat them according to their spiritual/cultural preferences.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #9

    Aug 4, 2013, 10:22 AM
    Agree with J9 -

    I don't understand the "friend's" concern/upset. If I show up in Lederhosen and someone asks me where I'm from I assume the Lederhosen are triggering the question, and so I say "Baltimore, German ancestry." I see no problem saying, "Boston, I'm Muslim" (or whatever).

    My late husband was sometimes asked where he was from when he was wearing his Yamulke. I never understood the question, but he said, "Alabama, and I'm Jewish." No biggie.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #10

    Aug 4, 2013, 06:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ...
    I don't understand the "friend's" concern/upset. ...
    I have been chastized for describing the friend's clothing style as perhaps appearing "wierd". I guess I'm not supposed to use the phrase "nut case", in reference to this concern/upset, either.

    Might offend someone's sensibilities. And, with respect to adherents of the religion founded by Mohamed, we definitely can't do that. What with their exceedingly delicate sensibilities and all.
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,278, Reputation: 5644
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    #11

    Aug 4, 2013, 08:10 PM
    I have been chastized for describing the friend's clothing style as perhaps appearing "wierd"
    What may be "wierd," actually spelled weird (if you were a REAL attorney you would know how to spell), to you, may be normal to others. It appears that you are not culturally sensitive.

    Personally, I love the look of a burka and I am Polish, not Muslim.

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