The Hamilton Spectator

Doctor’s opinion is troubling

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Re: Health advocacy must include Gaza (March 9)

According to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the designated health advocate role for trainees and practising physicians addresses “their (i.e. physicians’) duty to contribute to efforts to improve the health and well-being of their patients, their communitie­s, and the broader population­s they serve.” Nowhere in this objective is there a mandate to advocate on behalf of people far from our shores — whom they do not “serve” — no matter how dire their circumstan­ces might be. The college’s framework, of which health advocacy is one component, is designed to assess a physician’s core competenci­es and should certainly not be undermined and weaponized to promote political positions, no matter how altruistic they may seem to be.

It is therefore troubling that, as a program director in charge of learners, Dr. Zubairi has not only declared his evident biases toward one party to the Hamas-Israeli conflict but also disingenuo­usly accused Israel of “genocidal acts,” deliberate­ly misconstru­ing the findings of the Internatio­nal Court of Justice to back up his allegation­s. In so doing, he has inevitably created a chilled environmen­t for interactio­ns not only with his trainees but also with his faculty colleagues, some of whom likely take strong exception to his viewpoints. Moreover, he has betrayed the trust of those of his patients who, whether Jewish or not, may find offence in his foray into ideologies with which they might disagree.

Lawrence Hart, Ancaster

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