A doctor in Hanoi has been accused of unfairly discriminating against a patient after he refused to perform a surgery on her, allegedly because she works as a journalist for a news website that has damaged his reputation.
Duong Quynh Trang said she was recommended to see Dr Vu Ba Quyet, head of the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, to have a surgery to remove a tumor in her uterus.
She claimed it was fine at the beginning of their meeting on March 20 and Quyet even scheduled an operation for her on the same day.
But when he asked her about her job and she replied that she had just graduated from a journalism school, the doctor changed his mind and canceled the surgery.
According to Trang, Quyet said that reporters had written many bad things about him.
Trang said she tried to convince him by saying that she was a new graduate and has yet to be employed by any newspaper, but the doctor refused to budge.
Nguoi Dua Tin news website, where Trang works as a freelancer, reported on Tuesday that when it called Quyet to question his decision, the doctor said that he had the right to choose his patients.
“You the media have the right to write; I have the right not to perform a surgery,” he reportedly said over the phone.
The National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported the case to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, saying that Trang's accusation was wrong and Quyet had refused the surgery even before knowing about her job.
Speaking to Thanh Nien, the doctor said he could not agree to perform the operation because he has been fully booked until April and Trang's case is not an emergency.
In cases when a surgeon is requested by a patient like this, he or she has the right to say no especially when the schedule is already full, Quyet said.
The doctor told local media that he had recommended two other doctors to Trang, but she called him again and insistently asked him to be her surgeon.
“She said that she is working for Nguoi Dua Tin, and I told her, ‘Your news office set me up once,'" Quyet said, admitting to having an antipathy with the news website.
Quyet said that in the past there was a patient who requested him to perform a surgery on his wife at a private hospital.
At first he refused because he was too busy at his hospital, but he finally took the case.
Soon after the operation, Nguoi Dua Tin published a report on the case, saying that he was greedy and turned the private hospital into his hospital's "backyard" to charge high fees on patients.
"The private hospital and the patients negotiated on the fees themselves and I had nothing to do with that," Quyet said.
“To be honest, I do have an antipathy for that news website. But as I said, I did not refuse Trang's case because of her profession.”