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FIRST DO NO HARM!

By Anonymous ~

First do no harm. First. Do. NO. Harm. The most important part of the Hippocratic Oath. Yet harm is exactly what the doctor in question did to my very dear friend.

First, some disclaimers. I will not be mentioning names, and second, as much as I would love to, I will not mention the "doctor's" name. Reason being, legal action has yet to be taken (but will be soon) and my friend's surviving partner made me promise not to mention the doctor's name...not yet, anyway. Now, the incident...

Considered a father of Western medicine, Hippo...
Hippocrates is considered the
 father of Western medicine.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My late friend passed away a few weeks ago. He was an amazing person and I was devastated to find out. A little background, he was from Armenia. I first met him here in the States, in Alabama, while he was here for school. When we was in the room, your eyes immediately went straight to him. Aside from being a very beautiful man, he was such an incredibly smart and sweet person. Having said that, he was anything but a pushover. He did NOT suffer fools. He was completely unafraid to let someone know when they were completely full of crap, and in the most witty way possible, as well. I also met and became friends with the guy who was, at the time, just his friend, but later on became the love of his life. These two men were such a great pair and great friends to me.

Eventually, my friend had to go back to Armenia to be with his family after his father died. He stayed there for a while, and eventually got a job working with refugees from war torn and third world countries. His job took him from Armenia, to Paris, to Italy, and eventually, finally right back to the States. I kept in touch with him, and when he came back, he had entered a relationship with my other friend, the guy I mentioned earlier. The three of us would meet up whenever our busy schedules would permit, and it was always a wonderful time.

However, he was rather ill when he came back. Having traveled to so many places so often, he had caught pneumonia. He was getting much better, though, by the time we met up again after about a year of having not seen each other. His partner had kept me up to date on his condition while he was back, and when he was well enough to go out, the three of us were right back to how we would hang out when he was here the first time. But then, he got meningitis...

That was a long process of him getting better very slowly, but surely. And right when he got mostly better from that, he caught pneumonia again. After a long struggle, that was what finally did it, and my dear friend died. The only solace I have from this is that one, he isn't suffering anymore. And two, his partner was right by his side, holding his hand.

But it wasn't until his memorial service that I found out the details surrounding his death. Back when he was sick with meningitis (and I may be getting details slightly off, since it's been awhile since I heard this, so if I find anything else out, I will correct the information,) the doctor he had was...well, not deserving of the title "doctor." From what I was told, this doctor was very bigoted, as well as arrogant. When doing the regular doctor/patient questions and answers, he asked my friend if he had a wife or girlfriend. My friend very nonchalantly told him, "No, I'm gay. This man with me is my partner." And the doctor said to him, "Oh, I'm so sorry for you."

???? First red flag, right? The doctor is from Nigeria and is of the very fundamentalist variety of Christian. (If I'm not mistaken, I think he is Pentecostal.) He has apparently written a Christian-themed book, as well as hosts a local religious tv show on our local news station on Sunday mornings. He also makes rather insane comments online (on Twitter, I think, if I remember correctly) about End Times, and "Today could be the day Jesus comes back" kinda crap. And during his "care" of my friend, he only did the bare minimum of care, if even that. He was exceedingly arrogant, as well as flippant. He ignored my other friend completely (my Armenian friend's partner) and wouldn't even look at him. When my Armenian friend got sick with pneumonia, he was still getting over with meningitis. Apparently, the doctor came in and--rather bitingly--said "Well, you got pneumonia." In a "serves you right" tone of voice, form what I hear tell.

He wouldn't treat him, because supposedly the medications for meningitis and pneumonia don't mix well. While that may be, there is still treatment available. After many weeks of laying in the hospital, my friend and his partner had had enough.

Meanwhile, it's very important to mention what was going in the rest of the hospital at the time. All the nurses in the hospital LOVED my friend. Nurses from other floors would visit him all the time just to chat. His personality was charming and friendly right up until he got his worst. Over time, the nurses and staff in the rest of the hospital learned of what was going on. In fact, my surviving friend said that when they first went there to meet the doctor, the nurse asked which doctor they had. When they mentioned his name, she said "Oh...him." (This doctor's reputation preceded him. He was very arrogant to all.)

When my friend finally had enough and told the doctor that he wanted someone else to treat him, this doctor decided to play the Guilt and Intimidation Card. "Haven't I cared for you? Haven't I come to see you every day?" (yeah, for like, 2 minutes.) "If you don't want me for your doctor anymore, I should tell you that you'll have problems getting anyone else. No one will take you." This doctor basically implied that because my friend was a gay immigrant, no one would care enough to treat him. (much like how this doctor just brushed him off, thinking that no one would care about a gay immigrant or how sick he was.) I don't know if his talk was working in it's intimidation tactics or not, but it didn't matter, because a nurse came in and put a stop to it. See, this doctor would always shoo everyone out of the room in order to talk to my friend. He TRIED to shoo my surviving friend out as well, but my surviving friend adamently refused to leave. Well, one of the nurses happened to be standing outside the door, listening. (Who honestly cares if she was breaking a policy, because she did what was morally right, since she knew--along with most of the hospital--the situation.) She suddenly barged in and said to my late friend "Honey....Do you want a different doctor? Because I WILL get you one." Bless this nurse, whoever she is.

Well, when uber-fundie doctor was finally shooed away, a new doctor came in to examine my friend. (and this is the part of the story I was told that really got to me) She looked at him, and started crying. He was in SUCH bad shape. It was too late to do very much at all. Still, this new doctor, whoever she is, did exactly what a REAL doctor is SUPPOSED to do. She did everything she could to try and help him. And for a while, it seemed like it may have been starting to work. But unfortunately, just when my friend had been responding well to the treatment, he very quickly took a turn for the worse. His lungs failed, his blood pressure dropped. He was rushed back into the hospital, where he died. His loving partner held his hand as he finally went, and at the very least there was a sense of goodbye for my surviving friend. My late friend was only in his very early 30s. Full of life, full of love for life and for people. A sharp and quick wit. A wonderful cosmopolitan soul who had seen the world and helped many in it, and brought love and friendship and light into the lives of so many people. And of course, an impeccable sense of fashion. (He'd appreciate me mentioning that, I know, haha. I love you, man.)

But as tragic as his early passing was....that's not the most tragic thing of all. It wasn't enough to be sad at his death, but now I'm MAD. I am honestly pissed off because his death was completely preventable. That "doctor" completely shredded his Hippocratic Oath, and all because he wouldn't get over his prejudices. When you are a doctor, your personal beliefs must be put aside. You do not see gender, race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. You see only a patient. A patient who needs you to do everything you can for them, and in a loving manner. This doctor allowed his religious sense of self-righteousness to harm, and yes, kill my dear friend. My surviving friend was the first one to say it. "That doctor killed him." He killed him with neglect and malpractice.

Now, from what I hear, this doctor labeled my friend's death as "anemia." .......bullshit.

Well, after all this, things are slowly turning, hopefully. My late friend's family in Armenia was asking for his medical records, since they sensed something wasn't quite right. My surviving friend couldn't get them without a notarized permission from the family, so my late friend's brother gave my surviving friend permission. Medical records were obtained, and now he's on his way to Armenia with my late friend's ashes, for the real funeral. When he gets back to the States (about a week or so from now) he will pursue legal action. And luckily, he has a hospital full of nurses to vouch for him. Who knows how many other patients that "doctor" has mistreated in the same way? Only time will tell. At the least, let's all hope justice will be served. And this will serve as a reminder to all that whether you are a doctor or not, no matter what your personal religious beliefs or lack thereof...FIRST DO NO HARM!

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