Why I wore my white doctor’s coat to protest family separation and detention

Excerpt from op-ed published in the USA Today, June 18, 2018, written by Dr. Ranit Mishori, family physician and a professor of family medicine at Georgetown University. Dr. Mishori is also a Board Member of the National Physicians Alliance. Follow her on Twitter: @ranitmd 

A couple of weeks ago I took an unusual selfie: it showed me and a colleague in the hot Texan desert, outside a U.S. Customs detention facility, wearing our white doctor’s coats, surrounded by about 50 other health professionals.

We were there protesting the separation and detention of nearly 3,000 asylum-seeking children, and the incarceration of a few dozen of them in the notorious “tent-city.” We joined a group of local doctors and nurses and silently walked in the extreme heat — it was 104 degrees — holding arms with complete strangers, to the gates of the detention center. It was somber. Moving. Emotional. A few speeches outside the gate. A few hugs. A few tears. And it was over.

I had flown in the night before from Washington, D.C., where I live and work. The protest lasted 90 minutes. Then I flew home. It was an impulsive act, and expensive. But I am glad I did it. That coat I put on added a certain kind of power to a good cause — the power of the white coat.

Doctors must protect the vulnerable

Now, I know some people might say treating patients is all I should be doing, that I should leave protests to the activists and that if I do want to protest, I should leave my white coat out of it.

But I disagree. READ MORE…

“The physician is the natural attorney of the poor.”
– Rudolf Virchow, German physician & newspaper co-founder

There are times in history when we must get out of our comfort zone, out of the exam room, out of the lab, and go out there, in the heat, with our white coats on. This is one of those times.
– Ranit Mishori, MD

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