A Turkish patient complaining about poor hygiene conditions of a hospital room in Germany's Mannheim reportedly met with a discriminatory response urging the patient to go to Turkey for treatment.
The 18-year-old, Ufuk Altunok, was hospitalized at the Theresienkrankenhaus hospital in on April 3 for intestine problems. Upon the family's request, he was transferred to another room two days later. Since the room was already occupied by two other older patients, topped by poor conditions and heavy odor in the room, Altunok called his father, Niyazi Altunok, and said he wanted to change rooms.
The father informed the nurse of the situation, who called on to the chief physician of the hospital, Dr. Daniel Schmitz. When Altunok told him their request, Schmitz first said that there are single rooms that cost 150 euros per night, and asked the father whether he could afford it. Altunok responded positively, but the hospital administration later called and said there were not any single rooms.
"When I said 'Doctor, please help us. This kid doesn't want to stay in this room,' he told me 'Go to Turkey, [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan can take care of you there.' I told him that we live in Germany, that my child is a German citizen and he should not get involved in politics. He later said he didn't want to see us anymore and asked us to leave the hospital immediately. He then grabbed and squeezed my son's arm. After that move we were involved in an argument. Of course my son's friend, our relatives and other doctors who were present at the time witnessed what happened," Altunok told Anadolu Agency, adding that Schmitz continued his verbal harassment even as they were leaving the hospital building.
Both the family and the hospital administration called the police, Altunok said, but an officer who arrived at the scene told them "this is not a hotel," after they told them what happened.
"They then questioned the doctors about the incident. The police wanted my son to sign a document saying that he is leaving the hospital at his own will, but we did not sign it. I told them that I would notify my lawyer of this incident and we left the premises," he said.
"They could reject giving a bed to my son. They might not have other alternatives too. But they cannot say 'Go to Turkey.' They don't have the right to say that, and the issue has no connections with politics. What would happen if a doctor in Turkey told a German patient 'Go and let [Chancellor Angela] Merkel take care of you.' It would be unacceptable. This is unacceptable too."
Altunok said that they will officially complain on Monday and notified the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Berlin Embassy of the incident, who responded that they will closely monitor the issue.
He added that his son's treatment will continue at the Heidelberg University Hospital.
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