Black NHS doctor reveals racist comments from A&E patients

Black NHS doctor reveals racist comments from A&E patients – Talktalk News

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A black NHS doctor has revealed the scale of racist abuse she faces while on the job, including being mistaken for the cleaner, and being called a ‘b***h’.

Yaa Oheema, 26, from Southwark, Greater London, shared that she has been regularly undermined, with patients asking to see a ‘real doctor’ as she works to save lives in A&E. 

She makes a deliberate effort to use medical language to convince patients that she’s qualified, because many question her skill set – even when she wears her lanyard ID.

Yaa Oheema, from Southwark, Greater London, shared that she has been regularly undermined, with patients asking to see a ‘real doctor’ as she works to save lives in A&E 

The NHS worker admitted that while she often ignores the remarks, particularly bruising comments have left her in floods of tears.  

In a recent TikTok, Yaa shared a selection of the shocking comments she has received to highlight the daily abuse black doctors endure.

This included patients saying: ‘They let anyone become doctors now don’t they’ or ‘I don’t want to talk to you, get me a real doctor’ and ‘You must be one of the smarter ones’.

Comments included patients saying ‘they let anyone become doctors now don’t they’, ‘I don’t want to talk to you, get me a real doctor’ and ‘you must be one of the smarter ones’

Yaa, who primarily works in A&E, explained that she encounters this kind of behaviour on a regular basis

In a recent TikTok, Yaa shared a selection of the shocking comments she has received to highlight the daily abuse black doctors endure

The doctor, 26, said: ‘I do get a lot of racist comments like ‘are you sure you’re not the nurse or the cleaner?’ Even when I have “doctor” on my lanyard.

‘Even after I have spent an hour with a patient, I could get asked “when’s the real doctor coming in?” It’s horrible.

‘When the comments come from white people, it tends to come from the older population.

The doctor, 26, said: ‘I do get a lot of racist comments like ‘are you sure you’re not the nurse or the cleaner?’ Even when I have “doctor” on my lanyard

Yaa explained: ‘I guess it comes from experience and ignorance, where they haven’t adapted to the way things are now…’

‘I guess it comes from experience and ignorance, where they haven’t adapted to the way things are now.

‘I had a patient say to me “back in my day, black people didn’t go to university, how have you become a doctor?” It’s just people being ignorant.

‘When I get comments from other ethnic minority patients, they tend to be middle-aged.

Yaa said: ‘When I get comments from other ethnic minority patients, they tend to be middle-aged…’

‘The comments tend to come out when we don’t give them what they want. Like if they ask to be signed off for six months, even though their injury doesn’t need that length of recovery time.

‘When I say no, that’s when “you black b**ch” and “I want a real doctor’ come out.”‘

Working in a South London hospital, Yaa admitted to being surprised by the frequency of the racism as she works in such a diverse place.

Yaa revealed that because of the way she looks and speaks, ‘I guess to some people, I don’t fit their idea of what a doctor should be’

Yaa said: ‘Because of the way I look and the way that I speak, I guess to some people, I don’t fit their idea of what a doctor should be.

‘When I was training to be a doctor, it was in the back of the mind that I might be treated differently due to the colour of my skin.

‘But I thought, working in London, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue. London is very diverse so it came as a big shock. I work in a diverse hospital with a diverse population.

Since sharing the video on TikTok last month, Yaa has been flooded with supportive comments from users – some of whom have had similar experiences

‘The fact this still happens is very shocking.

‘A lot of my colleagues have had similar experiences. They’ll get a lot of comments like “I can’t understand your accent” or similar comments to mine where they’re mistaken for the cleaner.

‘There’s quite a lot of sexism, ageism and racism. The world is changing but some patients still haven’t adapted.’

Yaa, who primarily works in A&E, explained that she encounters this kind of behaviour on a regular basis.

Since the doctor shared the clip on TikTok, many rallied around to offer Yaa their support

She added: ‘I work in A&E so the racist abuse happens a lot because there tends to be frustrations. There’s always at least one moment or situation every shift.

‘My reaction depends on my headspace on that day. Sometimes I find myself speaking in more medical terms just to impress on the patient that I am a doctor.

‘Usually I’d speak more informally or use colloquial language so they understand it better.

‘Other days, I can feel quite emotional about the comments and take myself off to have a little cry.

‘The more abusive comments hurt the most because they’re choosing those words to hurt me.

‘When it comes to the ignorant comments, I do take into account whether the person realises what they’re saying.

‘You can call security if you are getting racially abused, but we’re understaffed.

‘Security can take 30 minutes to come, and once you’ve stepped outside of the room, the patient’s story will change.

‘So a lot of the time, I just end up ignoring it.’

Since sharing the video on TikTok last month, Yaa has been flooded with supportive comments from users – some of whom have had similar experiences.

Yaa said: ‘I shared these comments on TikTok to raise awareness about the day-to-day life of a black doctor. My whole TikTok is about challenging stereotypes about doctors.

‘A lot of commenters were saying “that’s horrible”, and other people were giving their own examples.

‘Some people thought I was lying, which I thought was odd. Why would I lie about somebody being racist? I have no reason to do that.

‘But the majority of comments were from people who were horrified.’

Many rallied around to offer Yaa their support.

One said: ‘In 2022!!! I have no words. Keep winning Queen!!!’

Another commented: ‘Sounds exhausting. Well, I appreciate you and I would love to be treated by a black woman.’

A fellow medical worker wrote: ‘I’m a nurse, I often got, “get your black hands off me!” I responded “I’m so glad you know your colours, congratulations!”‘

Yaa said: ‘I shared these comments on TikTok to raise awareness about the day-to-day life of a black doctor. My whole TikTok is about challenging stereotypes about doctors…’

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