More than 36,000 people have signed a petition that demands the 52-year-old Dr. Keith Wolverson to keep his job and “protect his reputation” after he was put under investigation for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil during an appointment.
The petition asks the General Medical Council to treat him fairly and look at all the evidence after it was revealed that a complaint had been made by the patient following the “incident” at Royal Stoke University Hospital, U.K.
The doctor has since said that he is now unable to find work and he is planning to quit medicine and become a cosmetic practitioner.
He claims that the woman didn’t object when he “politely” asked her to remove her face covering, and he only asked her to do that because he was struggling to understand what she was saying about her sick daughter.
Her husband, however, made a complaint later, and the doctor received a letter from the doctors’ regulator, the GMC, and it said that he was being investigated over allegations of discrimination over race, and it could result in him being removed from the register.
According to the guidelines of GMC, doctors are supposed to treat their patients’ religious beliefs and dress “with respect”, and consider the patient’s potential “discomfort, distress, and feelings of vulnerability” when asking them to expose a part of their body.
Doctors are allowed to asked Muslim women to remove their veils if they feel that they have no other option, but if she refuses to do it or is in distress, they must continue as normal.
Dr. Wolverson now is unable to work at Royal Stoke University Hospital or in any other hospital because no one would employ him while he’s under investigation by the GMC. He told Mail Online that he has been left with no alternative but to look at doing something else, despite having 23 years in general practice.
The online petition was started just yesterday, and it has since been signed more than 36,000 times.
He said that he has received a lot of messages of support since announcing his decision, and it’s comforting.
Dr. Wolverson explained to Mail Online that the Muslim mother brought her daughter, aged 10, to see him. However, he couldn’t hear the mother’s account of the girl’s health problems because her speech was obscured by her niqab. So, he requested her to remove it, and she complied with it without raising any objections. Shortly afterward, however, her husband arrived and declared that he was making a complaint about the doctor’s behavior.
According to the complaint, the woman told Dr. Wolverson that she did not want to remove her veil, but he refused to continue the consultation unless she did.