A Belgian woman did not know what she was hearing when she wanted to shake hands with a nurse from the St. Francis Hospital in Heusden-Zolder (near Maastricht) on Friday. The man would have refused, because he would have to “ritually” wash. “I was his patient and he didn’t even want to touch me,” the woman said. The hospital confirms that there has been an incident.
Rachida, who works as a nurse herself, struggled with a heavily sprained toe and visited the radiology department of the Belgian hospital on Friday. “I had a lot of pain with my big toe and went for a CT scan. When a Turkish nurse came to fetch me in the waiting room, I wanted to shake hands with him. But to my surprise, he refused. “I cannot shake hands with a woman because that is how it is in the Koran,” he said.
If I do, I have to ritually clean myself.
Rachida, who himself has Moroccan roots, was dumbfounded. “As a foreigner we don’t have it easy in Flanders. Racism is increasingly lurking around the corner. And then the man goes even further in such a way. That is wheat on the mill from those who think that strangers should better scratch up. I really got mad at that man. He also refused to touch me during the investigation. While I’m a damn patient. What does the Koran have to do with the treatment of sick people ?! He would listen better to Hippocrates instead of following such a narrow interpretation of the Koran.”
Rachida’s six-year-old daughter also witnessed the incident.
“The fact that he humiliated me in the eyes of my daughter makes matters even worse for me. Look, shaking hands with us in Belgium is an elementary form of courtesy. That has nothing to do with faith. This is really about it.”
Kristien Elsen, spokesman for the St. Francis Hospital, confirms that there was an incident on Friday.
“We have received a complaint and we are now going to investigate it further in the right way. I was able to talk to the man briefly. He does not deny the facts, but says that everything happened in a completely different context. We do want our employees to act according to our values and standards. Our hospital is open to everyone, regardless of gender, origin or religion, and we expect our employees to treat patients in a professional manner.”
“But we do not draw conclusions that are too premature. The nurse in question has always behaved professionally and according to our values and standards. We have never received such complaints about him before. We will bring the two parties together next week in the hope of being able to clarify this matter quickly. ”