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PTA Blog Talk

Discriminatory Care: Part Two

Published February 13, 2013 6:47 PM by Jason Marketti

Because I'm male and have the same color hue as the patient, he probably thought I found his jokes about women and minorities funny. I didn't. I despised this patient and couldn't wait until he discharged. I spoke with supervisors about his remarks but the facility seemed to be more concerned about filling beds and Medicare reimbursement dollars than a crabby racist patient.

The derogatory remarks were usually out of earshot of others and he always laughed at his own jokes. I wanted him off my list but no one wanted to see him and those that tried met with fierce resistance. Somehow the patient had an affinity toward me based solely on gender and skin color. Should I have told him my wife and children are of mixed race? No, I didn't want to involve my family in this man's ignorance, so I sought help from the facility HR person.

I did what the facility recommended and that was to not respond to his remarks and change the subject. I became "Mr. Therapy" with him -- all business, all work the whole time I saw him. It didn't help; he kept up his steady stream of remarks about females and minorities until the day he left. Great advice, facility!

I couldn't believe this man and I pray to the same God and read the same religious books. Did he really think I would laugh at his jokes? I had a hard time believing people like him still existed, being so passionate in the belief that he was superior to everyone else somehow, some way. I vowed to change what I do the next time a patient like this shows up on my list.

I could have refused treatment of the patient; however, what if my next patient has brain damage and cannot control everything he says? Do I refuse to treat based solely on what a patient says? No.

I think I'll tell the next patient who is like the one above, "I'm sorry you feel that way," and see what happens. I read somewhere that this phrase helps to stop the behavior. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.


We can stop elderly people from saying what they want to say. We don't know what they went through. We don't have to agree with them, but don't encourage things by saying you don't agree. If they say they don't like fat people-ok-black people-ok-gay people-ok elderly sick people say things that they would never say when they were in there own home-hopefully. It's sad that you have to deal with people like that.I would just take there bed and shove it outside-just joking. Love you guys

terry tesch March 20, 2013 4:56 AM
menasha WI

I also have had patients like this in my 31 year career. My response is "I do not share your beliefs and I find your jokes and comments offensive. I would appreciate it if you don't talk like this during your therapy treatments"

Debra Angelo, Physical therapist February 21, 2013 8:19 AM
Fort Lauderdale FL

"those jokes are offensive to me and I would appreciate it if you refrain from telling them while I'm working with you."

Celia February 13, 2013 4:50 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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