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The medical world's ugly 'open secret'

DETROIT -- It's been called one of the "open secrets" in the U.S. medical world -- allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race.

In the latest example, a white man with a swastika tattoo insisted a black nurse not be allowed to touch his newborn.

Now two black nurses are suing the hospital, claiming it bowed to his illegal demands.

The Michigan cases are among several lawsuits filed in recent years that highlight this seldom-discussed issue, which quietly persists almost 60 years after the start of the civil rights movement.

The American Medical Association's code of ethics bars doctors from refusing to treat people based on race, gender and other criteria, but there are no specific policies for handling race-based requests from patients.

Infamous drug lord alive after all

SAN VALENTIN, Guatemala -- A Guatemalan official said Friday there was no evidence Mexico's most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, had been killed in a shootout in the rural north, calling such reports a misunderstanding.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told local media the original account was based on testimony from residents in San Valentin near the Mexican border, but soldiers and police scanning the area found no sign of any confrontation.

"I apologize if there was a misunderstanding," Lopez told the Guatemalan radio station Emisores Unidos. "It was a mix-up. We were referring to information generated from the area that there was possibly a crime scene with a dead person resembling El Chapo."

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2013 A27

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