Doctor who enforced hospital dress code is suspended

Doctor who enforced hospital dress code is suspended March 7, 2016

Dr Vladislav Rogozov, 46, inset above, has been suspended by Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital after he made public a an incident involving a Muslim surgeon who refused to remove her headscarf.
According to this report, the incident occurred in 2013 but was not made public until Rogozov, a consultant anaesthetist, wrote about it on a Czech blog.
He said:

I came into the operating room, where I met the surgeon, a woman shrouded in a Muslim headscarf. I immediately stopped the operation of the hall and asked her to put down her scarf and replace it with the prescribed headgear.
After a long discussion held with respect, decency and factual arguments, the surgeon refused and left the operating room. We managed to subsequently find another surgeon who performed the operation.
After the end of the operating day other members of the surgical team came to me (in a low voice and with the door closed) to share their concerns about the threat to patient safety.

He said others shared his concerns but were reluctant to raise them for fear of being accused of racism or Islamophobia. He added:

If the medics in a developed country are afraid to draw attention to threats to patient safety because of accusations of racism, then it is an example of the absurdity of multiculturalism.

He said the surgeon’s refusal to remove her headscarf forced the hospital to find a stand-in. She later left the hospital after an investigation backed Rogozov for enforcing the strict dress code.
In its policy, the NHS trust says:

Headscarves worn for religious purposes are permitted in most areas, however they are excluded in areas such as theatre, where they could present a health and safety and cross-infection hazard.

So why was Rogozov suspended?
According to Dr David Throssell, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ spokesman:

Not for raising patient safety issues as we take these very seriously. However since the publication of articles, attributed to the member of staff, we have received concerns about the tone he has used. On this basis the content and nature of the views published are currently being investigated.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn and Peter Sykes.

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  • Broga

    Dr David Throssell must be suspended immediately until it is determined that his judgement regarding patient safety can be trusted. On the basis of what I have read it cannot. He seems to object not to the actions of the doctor in terms of patient safety but because of his “tone”. What do his weasel words mean – that the doctor concerned with patient safety would upset Muslims.
    What we have read about this incident is, on the face of it, an abomination.

  • AgentCormac

    So, Dr Throssell puts pandering to religous sensitivities above the wellbeing of his patients. Not good – especially if you’re one of his patients!
    However, I do sympathise. Throssell must find himself in a delicate position over this. After all, he could find himself being publicly branded as ‘Islamophobic’. Whatever that means. Much worse, he could end up being butchered in the street for supporting a doctor who had the temerity to question the laws of islam. These days, it really isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

  • Rob Andrews

    Yeah! They’re scared, that’s it. People have been scared since the Satanic Verses tantrum in 1989.:
    The tone he used: What tone?!

  • L.Long

    Religious BS ahead of patient care!!! WOW!!! Sounds like a catlick hospital!!!!

  • barriejohn

    Remember this?
    We discussed it here, but *someone* doesn’t like me linking to old articles! It’s totally beyond belief.

  • Dionigi

    If a surgeon had refused to wash and wear gloves what tone could have been used then to stop them from treatening a patient with infection?
    Where is the difference?

  • England, the last few atheists hiding there one hundred years from today will spit on your graves for letting this happen. Out of fear of being called a bully, you let the bullies win.

  • Michael Glass

    Patient safety must be paramount. Surely there is a way round this issue!

  • 1859

    This is sooooo nuts.This woman’chose’ to wear the head scarf as a sign of respect for her doo-dar in the sky. OK – I get that bit. But she was not being asked to go with her head totally uncovered into the operating theatre. No, she was being asked to remove a potentially unhygienic covering and exchange it for a hygienic covering – in other words, in the eyes of her doo-dar in the sky, she would still have had a covered head!
    And re the ‘tone’ of the doctor’s request – were there not witnesses present in the operating theatre who could testify to the ‘tone’ used? Dr. Throssall your decision is stupid.

  • 1859

    @Barry Duke: I don’t know how to send you an email (computer gives me a big blue screen which pisses me off) to suggest articles? Anyhow I came across this about an 11th Century Muslim atheist poet who’s recently been decapitated! Check out the link

  • Michelle

    What a bunch of gutless wonders. Bit by bit they are driving the west backwards in time. Have a look at the REAL stats(death rates, infection rates etc.) in hospitals in muslim countries. My advice is NEVER go there as you get what you deserve for being such a fool. You wont find the real stats easily anywhere but the local “undertakers” will give you a clue. You go back to preListerian days there, despite the shiny western donated equipment.

  • Barry Duke

    @ 1859: at the foot of the FT home page there is a “contact us” link, which I have just tested and it works fine. Alternatively email me direct at

  • barriejohn

    Barry: When I click onto that link using Google, nothing happens. IE offers to open a “program” to send a message.

  • Broga

    The “tone” explanation is a shifty, deceitful reaching in desperation for a decision that is wrong. There is no excuse for allowing that surgeon to wear her headgear. So, Dr Throssell, described as a “spokesman”, shames himself and the medical profession. What does a “spokesman” do apart from being a spokesman.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Re email: In Mozilla Firefox, if you right click on “Contact us by email” you will get the option to copy the email address, it is then a simple paste into which email client you use.
    As for the article, it does not surprise me. I have questioned staff many time about infection risks, orthopaedic surgeons, of all faiths, races etc, are among the worst for doing ward rounds and not bothering to wash hands between seeing patients. Many react quite nastily when asked to follow basic hospital hygiene procedures.
    It is worth noting that after every patient leaves her/his bed and locker is washed with disinfectant, a good idea, but one thing is never touched, the bible in the locker. A lot of staff admit this is a cross contamination (pun intended) risk but few, if any, do anything about it.

  • Brian

    I once worked in an environment where there was a Clean Room. It was a very Clean Room … I forget the standard .. but it was one of those associated with the very sensitive computer hardware manufacturing. There was a brilliant, so brilliant he thought he was indispensable, software engineer in that company who worked to his own agenda and time constraints. He hated working in the cleanroom and was rarely needed to be in there. But when he was needed … he was really needed. One day, not wanting to go in, he entered without the full array of special coat, gloves, hat, mask etc knowing that he would be ushered out right away. He was right … he was bundled out and happy. But the next day he was dismissed on the spot for industrial sabotage. Sacked. Sacked Outright. Get your coat and belongings … then go. Gonzo.
    Same should apply here. If people cannot obey the rules of the operating theatre … fuck off. Sacked. Thats it.Muslim or not. Surgeon or not. Gonzo.

  • David Anderson

    Just a minute, Rogozov an anaesthetist, had to tell a surgeon about the danger to patient safety. Where is that surgeon working now? Is she following the safety standards of that hospital or are her colleagues and the hospital administration too afraid to speak out?
    Perhaps Dr. David Throssell’s time might be better spent looking into that if he has the spine.

  • Angela_K

    How do these Muslim idiots get through their medical exams as the three main sciences contradict the rubbish in the koran. I certainly would not want to be treated by a person who is a religious nutter nor one who does not adhere to proper hygiene.

  • Stuart H.

    Sheffield used to be quite a strong location for the Christian Medical Fellowship. A past chairman was a surgical tutor there, if I recall correctly, and I’ve certainly met medical students from conservative Christian backgrounds who were specifically advised to go there. At one time CMF had a bit of a mutual support pact going with Muslim medics, though hardly for good multicultural reasons as Hindu doctors have complained that CMF once branded Hinduism a ‘false religion’.

  • Peterat

    Imagine what her “tone” was during the discussion about hygiene and a sterile environment?!

  • barriejohn

    StuartH: I think some of you are trying to wind me up today. I’m supposed to make every effort to keep my blood pressure down! The Plymouth Brethren are VERY keen on the Christian Medical Fellowship (most in medicine belong), as they are also of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship. After all, it is through these good people that Jesus “heals” today. When he said: “Greater works than these shall ye do”, he was referring to modern advances in medicine, because he obviously couldn’t cure diseases like cancer himself, as he only had a humble education – or something. And they don’t take at face value his promise that when two of them agree about anything God is obliged to do it, even though that is precisely what he said. There has to be some way of sorting out all this nonsense, but I’m not wading through their interminable twaddle to try to get my head around it. It’s “faith in practice” again!
    (I think they really mean “faith in practise”, actually. Another organization calls itself Faith in Practice.)

  • Cali Ron

    Brian: I have worked in a semiconductor wafer fabrication plant for over 20 years. We are a class 1 clean room (no more than 1 particle of 1 micron size or bigger per 1 cubic meter of air) and are required to wear a “bunny suit” covering all, but a small portion of the face around the eyes. This is to protect the integrity of the die that are to become IC’s. Anyone not willing to don the bunny suit and follow “clean room protocol” is either not hired or terminated, yet here’s a professional who refuses to follow proper sanitary policies to protect the health of her patients. Seems ridiculous that someone can be terminated for not protecting a product, but another not terminated for failing to protect a human being. If she refuses to follow proper hygiene for religious purposes she should find a new line of work.

  • Cali Ron

    barriejohn: “There has to be some way of sorting out all this nonsense, but I’m not wading through their interminable twaddle to try to get my head around it.” I’m sure the Brethren would tell you to just have faith in god and prey harder. Then god will reveal the truth with some kind of epiphany. I tried following those instructions while still a believer, but full of doubt and my only epiphany was that they were making me feel guilty for wanting to understand dogma that increasingly made no sense to me. Your the wise one for not trying to understand because it’s all nonsense anyway.
    I wondered what the policy of the CMF is about abortion and sexual reorientation surgery so I was exploring their web site. I never even got to sexual reorientation surgery. They actually belief the morning after pill is an abortificant that “murders” an unborn child and a sin against god. Evangelical christians and organizations like CMF continue to lead the charge backwards to the dark ages trampling women’s rights and science in the process.

  • Matthew Carr

    As I understand it the woman’s hair is not to be seen by men as a form of religious modesty. If that’s the problem in this situation then surely the best course of action would be to remove the hair. If this solution still doesn’t work for religious reasons then the scarf and hair could be covered with a kind of overscarf. I can’t imagine that there would be a problem with wearing two scarves.

  • Broga

    @David Anderson: ” Perhaps Dr. David Throssell’s time might be better spent looking into that if he has the spine.”
    I wonder whether Dt Throssell has the medical clout to confront clinicians with status. Throssell may well be a brilliant doctor but there are a lot of people with Dr in front of their name who keep well clear of the demanding clinical stuff. I don’t find the “spokesman” description encourages clinical confidence.
    I remember years ago coming out of a hospital when a young woman fainted. A doctor with an admin/spokesman role went forward to help. A clerk at the hospital who was passing said, “Shouldn’t we get a proper doctor to see her?”

  • Denis Craik

    I don’t want a surgeon who’s likely to blame ‘the will of allah’ for anything that goes wrong

  • Fanatical doctrines like Islam lead to fanaticism as in bloodshed and war.
    At the root of the problem with Islam is how members of a religion and its enablers simply do not care if people waste their time labouring for a God who does not exist or for a religion that they think is from God when it is not. Too many people do not care if a young man is fooled into becoming an Imam or priest as long as they receive his good works. The man says that he does all the good he does for God – its not about benefiting the flock even if it does. If there is no God then the man is a slave to a man-made invention.
    If you want to feel you do good but don’t want to do much for people, there is nothing better than praying for them. Religious devotion can be a substitute for being truly good. It is human nature to prefer its own version of good over real good. There is something warped about believing that in principle praying for a person helps better than actually getting the doctor for them. I am not accusing religious people of not using or believing in doctors. I am saying that they regard prayer as more important for they think prayer is the reason doctors exist in the first place! They feel that doctors in themselves are useless and it is God working through them that makes them useful. If God wants to help and no doctor will help then God will do it himself. So he does not need doctors or anybody to do good work at all. His giving them a job is just to give them something to do. Such doctrines are truly essential fanaticism.
    The other thing is that religious people think prayer works for they sometimes get what they ask for. They do not care if they would have got those things had they not prayed. They just want to believe. It is only a short step from that to getting careless with patients on the basis that God is going to fix things anyway.
    Is it any wonder the surgeon would not wear the right headgear and put her faith before the patient when belief in God has such terrible implications?

  • Nelmonster
  • Peter Sykes

    “Faith is a fine invention
    For gentlemen who see;
    But microscopes are prudent
    In an emergency!” – EMILY DICKINSON

  • Broga

    @Nelmonster : That is a scary article. The Muslims are taking over, forcing their perverted beliefs on us with their threatening, bullying, whining, pleading. The result is the abuse of women, children and anyone who doesn’t convert to their superstitions.
    And there is no fight against these creatures. The politicians are too cowardly and the voters are too busy watching crap TV and getting excited about their football teams made up of billionaire footballers from other countries.

  • John

    There is a fuller account of this story at with 2,743 comments – most, presumably, supportive of Dr Rogozov.
    It seems he was not suspended for taking issue over the head scarf but ‘…last month for revealing details of the incident, which happened in 2013, as well as other surgeons’ more recent behaviour in an interview with an Internet blog.’
    I assume it was a Czech blog, in which he criticised British multicultural policy. Could it be argued that professional differences with medical colleagues should have been kept confidential?