Because we’re worthless

November 6, 2008

Because we're worthlessVia The Herald Sun, this is another of those news reports that leaves me struggling for words through a mix of emotions ranging from head-shaking incomprehension to outright anger.

Coming so soon after the GMC’s ruling that a UK doctor is unfit to practise after he wrote a letter containing blatantly transphobic remarks (link here), this report about the apparent assault and rape of a suicidal trans woman in Australia highlights once more the fact that some medical professionals can, and do, abuse their transsexual patients in the most obnoxious, degrading and transphobic ways imaginable.

The case has taken 16 months to reach the courts.

And, whether this man is proved guilty or not, it is people like this to whom we must return for essential medical “care” and treatment. Bad enough that our freedom of choice is removed simply for being trans, but then to have to negotiate your ongoing treatment with a man who you believe raped you? How must that feel?

Doctor ‘raped suicidal transsexual’

A SUICIDAL transsexual was allegedly assaulted and raped by a Melbourne doctor after she propositioned him while he was treating her slashed wrist, a court has heard.

Sunshine Hospital emergency department doctor Sulieman Hamid, 53, allegedly indecently assaulted the woman in an examination room after she tried to commit suicide in June 2007.

A day later the doctor allegedly went to her house and raped her.

Dr Hamid, of Glenroy, is standing trial in the Victorian County Court for eight sex-related charges including rape, sexual penetration of a cognitively impaired person by a provider of medical services and indecent assault.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The patient, who cannot be named, is a transsexual who has a borderline personality disorder and has attempted to commit suicide many times, the jury was told.

Giving evidence on the opening day of the trial, the patient said she had been to hospital about 100 times and went usually to Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne’s west.

On the day of the alleged indecent assault, she said she propositioned the doctor while he was treating her for a slashed wrist.

But, she said, she was not thinking straight and was trying to get out of the hospital so she could “run in front of a taxi”.

“He said he couldn’t (have sex) because he was working,” the patient said.

“He started touching my neck, my breasts, my lips, (with) his fingers.”

The patient said she was released from hospital later that day and slept until she was woken by a phone call from the doctor who asked if she was alone.

She let the doctor come to her house because she wanted medicine from him, she said.

After talking for a brief time in her bedroom the doctor started touching her, the patient said.

The doctor then allegedly digitally raped her.

The court heard the patient told the doctor she “needed protection” and the doctor left the house to find condoms.

The patient said she made the remark hoping the doctor would leave the house and not return.
It is alleged the doctor returned and anally raped the patient.

Dr Hamid’s lawyer Nick Papas agreed his client returned to the house but said the sex was consensual.

He denied Dr Hamid indecently assaulted the patient in the hospital cubical.

The trial before Judge Michael McInerney continues tomorrow.

Whatever the details of the case, and I’m sure more information will be released as the trial progresses, the doctor in question should never have let things reach the stage where there was even a shred of doubt as to his probity. As a medical professional, his duty of care was to the patient and he should have lived up to the responsibilities he accepted when he became a doctor. And, to my mind, that includes making sure that there was not even the slightest possibility that his actions could be misinterpreted.

In that respect, at the very least, he failed. And if he is found guilty of the eight sex-related charges including rape, sexual penetration of a cognitively impaired person and indecent assault, then he will also be proved to have failed his patient in a manner so brutal and so hateful that it would surely deserve the harshest penalty the law can prescribe.

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