Belgian doctor suspended for alleged anti-Semitism

Surgeon an Brussels hospital allegedly abused a Jewish colleague, hurling Nazi slogans and racial slurs at him.

surgery doctors transplant slicing 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
surgery doctors transplant slicing 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
THE HAGUE – A hospital in Brussels on Monday fired one of its top surgeons for allegedly hurling Nazi slogans and racial slurs at a Jewish colleague.
“It’s a pity because he was a good surgeon but his statements do not conform to the hospital’s mission,” Edgard Eeckman, the spokesman for the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel hospital told De Morgen.
“I think the hospital acted properly,” the complainant told Joods Actueel, Belgium’s main Jewish publication, which first reported on the incident. “It sends a signal to the rest of society that this sort of behavior is not tolerated.”
The surgeon reportedly called out “sieg heil,” a Nazi chant meaning “hail victory,” and told his Dutch-born, Jewish subordinate to “head back into the gas chambers,” according to a complaint which the Jewish doctor filed with the Center for Equal Opportunities, a watchdog for discrimination.
After the incident, the surgeon offered apologies via emails sent to management and Joods Actueel.
“I would like to publicly offer my assistant colleague my apologies for my unacceptable language in speaking with him,” the surgeon wrote. “Furthermore, I would like to apologize to the entire Jewish community, whose feelings I have hurt.”
The incident reportedly happened on Monday morning at the hospital during an argument between the suspended physician – specializing in orthopedic surgery – and the younger Dutch-born doctor.
The complainant, who recently returned from a vacation in Israel, further said the surgeon told him to “go back to the Dead Sea and be dead.”
Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel, said that in his mail to the newsroom, the surgeon said he “never meant what was said in a moment of rage,” adding that a relative of his had spent four years at a prisoners’ camp under Nazi occupation. He added that he had “a lot of respect for the Jewish people and Israel.”
After the story was published, Joods Actueel received a letter from a physician who used to work at the hospital.
“You could often hear racist jokes during the morning shift, by the surgeon in question and others,” the doctor – who asked his name not be disclosed – wrote.
Hospital authorities identified the man as Dr. Frank H., and added that he was “difficult,” referring to a previous complaint against him for alleged violent behavior in July.