WATCH: Montreal man says CHUM doctor mocked, discriminated against him over language and his name
A 67-year-old Polish immigrant living in Montreal claims he was refused treatment, ridiculed and discriminated against by a doctor at the CHUM because he didn't speak French during an appointment.
Zbigniew Malysa speaks five languages - as well as speaking and understanding basic French - but had wanted to speak English during a consultation yesterday at the French-language hospital centre to better understand medical terms.
Malysa said he suspects that's what set off Dr. Luc Valiquette, claiming the doctor mocked his name, his heritage and his French skills.
Zbigniew claims the doctor tore up and threw away consultation notes by medical residents requesting a colonoscopy and that Valiquette said that immigrants are too much of a financial strain on the government. Malysa said the medical residents spoke to him in English.
"I was confused. I was thinking maybe he was having a bad day but no. He was continuing to ignore me and why was he using (the words) East European exactly seven times," said Zbigniew.
Zbigniew said this was the first time he'd experienced such an incident with a healthcare professional.
"I still can't believe it happened to me. It's not supposed to happen," said Zbigniew.
"Maybe he had some bad experience with East European people in his private life or he is simply racist."
CJAD 800 News asked to speak to the doctor, but the hospital issued a statement instead.
In it, Doctor Valiquette says it was all a terrible misunderstanding and that he'll get in touch with the patient and his family soon.
The hospital says that everyday, it strives to accomodate patients whose mother tongue is not French and that a translator is available as needed.
But, it points out, that the CHUM is not part of the health network designated to offer all services in English.
Zbigniew is filing an official complaint, saying he doesn't want this to happen to someone else and he'd like to see the doctor reprimanded.
On Thursday evening, Zbigniew's daughter said Dr. Valiquette called the same evening to “clarify the situation” and "we don’t have any interest in talking to him."
The complaints have been forwarded to the colleges des médecins and awaiting further action.
"I do not believe this is a “misunderstanding”, added the daughter.
"A misunderstanding is a failure to understand something correctly, not to mock someone and rip up consult notes stripping them of their dignity", also said the daughter.