GP Declining to Treat Unmasked Patient?

A colleague of mine has been asked to leave by the GP simply because she's not wearing a mask. When confronted, the GP's reasoning was simply a precautionary measure and asked to come back when she's ready.

She was absolutely gobsmacked.

What kind of world do we live in right now when a GP refused to treat an ill patient?

closed Comments

  • Is your colleague Asian looking? It's part racism, part paranoia, part policy. Re: policy. People at several places (especially in China) are told to stay home if they have flu symptoms. GP refusing to see a person for not wearing a mask is unlikely.

    What symptoms does your "friend" have?

    • Not sure why the hive-mind is negging you, have a thumbs up from me!

      (edit: If the GP is super paranoid they might make demands they otherwise wouldn't.)

    • What symptoms does your "friend" have?

      severe sore throat

    • I’m in hospital atm it’s been a month, actually caught the flu here and was rushed with masks to solitary confinement for the last 6 days…
      (single room, everyone has to wear masks, doctors, visitors, nurses etc ) … I’m Caucasian . Didn’t cross my mind they were being racist bastard’s till now….

      I didn’t think i was to bad as i didn’t cough up any feathers….

    • I would assume the GP was Asian because wearing masks seems to be Asians habit. I see a lot of people wearing mask in public places and all of them look Asian (most likely Chinese but I can not be sure because the masks covering faces)

  • Was the GP surgery providing masks for patient's to wear?

  • +16 votes

    There must be more to it.

  • Maybe the GP could cure your italicism

  • +11 votes

    GP needs to stay healthy himself, if he wants to keep treating patients.

    The waiting room at mine is always full of people coughing and sneezing. I'm always afraid I'll come out sicker than when I went in. Would be happy for all patients to be masked. Would be convenient if the GP provided them though.

  • what kind of world do we live in right now when GP refusing to treat ill patients?

    Refusal is a little strong, the doctor was taking precautionary measures to ensure the other patients are not impacted.

    Yes little rough, but lets face it, we have a crazy virus on the go, and people are worried.

  • +10 votes

    We have signs in our waiting room asking patients to wear mask if they have flu symptoms/coughing etc. We usually have free masks for patients to use but due to scarcity we can’t give it out freely.

    Gps also need to protect themselves. It’s the person who’s sick that should be wearing a mask, not the rest of who are well. If the sick ppl adhered to infectious diseases protocol and good hygiene then less ppl will get sick.

    I agree that GP needs to be well to keep treating patients. One of our GPs caught Influenza A last yr twice from patients.

    I think that the govt in china failed to properly educate the mass population on good hygiene and how the corona virus spreads. It doesn’t spread that easily, it’s not airborne.


      Out of curiosity , how would you examine someone with a sore throat if they are wearing a mask?

      • Mask would be more for other patients (already sick and so more vulnerable) and the clinic in general than just for the GP himself.

        Inside the room, GP would also be wearing a mask presumably and taking the usual precautions such as washing hands with disinfectant and not touching eyes/mouth/etc while working.

    • What do you mean by saying the coronavirus ‘is not airborne’? Does it mean someone not wearing a mask should feel perfectly safe being in a room full of coughing coronavirus patients as long as they don’t touch anything or, if they do, put their hands anywhere near their face? If so, have you advised the Chinese government of this? Or Australian health officials?

      • there's a different between airborne and through water droplet.
        corona virus is not airborne.
        measles is.

        • Yeah - if it had measles level infectiousness we'd be in trouble. But this is still only spread via respiratory fluid - so via airborne droplets, not actually airborne.

          The difference between the two confused me for a while too, but effectively - measles is about 5x-7x more infectious.

      • +12 votes

        An Asian guy died in an Asian dominated area, surrounded by Asians who didn’t want to help him because they thought he might have the flu, because he was Asian.

        And (fropanity) me, I’m Australian, and I hate white people. Enough of the “they can’t be racist against their own kind” rhetoric. And I can assure you, I live with a Viet wife, and they hate Chinese people.

  • I cant understand. She is ill enough to see the doctor, then you infer she's not that ill she can decline to see the doctor because they asked her to wear a mask.

    I can understand her maybe feeling put out, but as Jimmy says above, its a crazy virus, so while medical staff may be over reacting, and only time will tell.

    Far better than find out with hindsight, simple precautions could have saved a life or two.

    I'd prefer Being Precious with Caution, rather than being Precious with Feelings

  • This won't be a problem to superheroes and lucha libre wrestlers.

  • I don't think that's unreasonable. Infact I think it's a very good thing to help prevent the spread of sickness.

    I regularly go into operating theatres and must wear scrubs, masks, caps etc. and I don't see or treat patients. There are very good reasons why that's the case just like this ;)

  • Entitled much? Let me guess, she is also an anti-vaxer? Or was it racism, because she is Chinese? It sounds like the Dr just told her to put a mask on before he saw her, to protect himself, not told her they he wouldn’t see her, full-stop. I think basic OH&S triumphs your friends “feelings”.

    Just put the damn mask on for your own safety and for that of others.

  • Doctors aren't slaves. If your colleague doesn't want to see the doctor under the limitations set, then that's your friend's choice.

  • So where is the Phantom of the Opera going to go now? I can, sort of, see the point but I would’ve thought it was hard to make a full diagnosis of the patient is wearing a mask. We seem to be getting back to those porcelain figurines where you pointed to say where it hurts.

  • His practice his rules.

    • shouldn't doctors bound by a moral obligation to help their patients and relieve suffering?

      • Where is your friends moral obligation to prevent potential suffering of others should she actually be contagious? Or her own common sense that there very well could be sick people at a GP and she would be best to wear a mask for her own good. She sounds very clever.

      • shouldn't people be bound by common sense and common courtesy?

      • shouldn't doctors bound by a moral obligation to help their patients and relieve suffering?

        Yes, he has other patients and staff to look after, not just your friend. Don't be selfish.

  • My local GP has a sign asking people with symptoms such as fever, cough, etc. not to enter the clinic and call staff for assistance.

    I think this is logical as a sick person shouldn't just walk in and contaminate an area that might be full of children and elderly necessarily.

  • I'm free to make rules in my own surgery such as no hats when entering my room. There is more reason to require a mask during an epidemic than there is a reason for my cultural request.

  • Would she still need to wear a mask if the doctor needs to look in her mouth while she says aaahhhhh?

  • Your friend is being childish and unreasonable

  • What kind of world do we live in right now when a GP refused to treat an ill patient?

    One where GPs are entitled to require basic and reasonable safeguards to protect their own health, presumably.

    How much would it have hurt your friends feelings to put a mask on?

    • it's about time and wellness; imagine you're not well, you weren't aware that you needed mask, you made an appointment, appointment confirmed, you waited for ages until the GP finally called your name and only to be told to go, get a mask and come back. Imagine to come back with a mask and having to wait again with your heavy headache, soreness in your throat.

  • Needs a poll to be sure

  • It’s part of the Hippocratic Oath. If my Greek still serves me, it goes something like: ‘Thou shalt weareth face mask when instructeth by physician; if refuseth, said physician obligated to escorteth thou to his door.’

  • What kind of world do we live in right now when a GP refused to treat an ill patient?

    GP does not treat any patients…they just provide some advice..they never really treat any patients..

    Speaking of what kind of world we are living in,….there was a white person sneezed couple of times and then made a joke to her friends saying: "Ugh guys I'm not well guys, I have a fever be careful guys..". Then all of her friends were laughing with her and make a joke out of it.
    I swear, if the one who sneeze is yellow person, things would have turned out differently.