Lesbian couple claim doctor discriminated

Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:16 AM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A Canadian lesbian couple in Winnipeg claim a female Egyptian-born doctor discriminated against them based on their lifestyle.

Andrea and Ginette Markowski alleged in a complaint filed with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba Dr. Kamelia Elias refused to take them as patients after their first meeting, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Wednesday.

Andrea Markowski told the Globe and Mail the doctor appeared uncomfortable when they met.

"She said, first thing, that it was against her religion, and second, that she had no experience caring for lesbian or gay patients," Markowski said.

However, Dr. Terry Gwozdecki, medical director of the Lakewood Medical Center where Elias practices, e-mailed a statement to the Winnipeg Free Press saying Elias "at no time refused to accept these women into her practice."

"Please understand that her inexperience stems not from unwillingness to treat these patients, but solely due to lack of exposure to them in her practices in Cairo and Steinbach, Manitoba," he wrote.

Markowski told the Globe after she sent a copy of the complaint to the clinic, they received an apology, but she is pressing on with her complaint.

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