The subject of racism has been a thorn in the United States’ side since the birth of our nation. One would like to believe that racial slurs, discrimination and intolerance are becoming things of the past. However, incidents like the one in September at a Philadelphia hospital when black staff members were prevented from assisting in a birth at the request of the father, suggest that the opposite is the case. When racism is not only tolerated but assisted, it can only further entrench bigotry in sectors of our society.
Abington Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia complied with the request of a pregnant patient’s husband to prevent any black employees in assisting his wife during her delivery.
Vice president of the hospital, Meg McGoldrick, told The Associated Press that the hospital prevented specific employees from interacting with the man and his family because they were black, despite the facility’s policy requiring care to be “provided on a non-discriminatory basis.”
In response to the incident, hospital management has apologized to the staff members who were barred from the patient’s room and has also hired consultants to address any future “cultural issues.”
Hospital President Richard L. Jones Jr., admits that the decision to comply with such a request was a “morally reprehensible” one. But the fact remains that while it is commendable for the hospital to apologize for its actions, it was a scenario that never should have occurred at all. It remains to be seen how the hospital will handle similar requests in the future, having set such a regrettable precedent.
The NAACP office in Philadelphia was alerted to the situation but has yet to file or receive a formal complaint, which is exactly what needs to be done in order to prevent further instances of such discrimination in our country. With movements like equal opportunity and affirmative action, U.S. citizens should be moving past the segregative mindset of the 1950s and ’60s, not reviving it.
If an individual has the ability and intelligence to work through school and earn the title of doctor or nurse, then the color of his or her skin shouldn’t be an issue. The husband making the request should have been firmly but politely told that his request was unacceptable.
It is humbling to realize that with incidents such as this, the U.S., from a societal standpoint, is actually taking a step backward rather than toward acceptance of diversity.
The hospital should be held accountable for its role in slowing the process of racial acceptance and diversity in the work force.