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Doctors, nurses and patients racially vilified at Royal Children’s Hospital amid coronavirus ‘paranoia’

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Racial abuse has rocked Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital as families refuse to let their children be treated by Asian doctors.

The hospital has confirmed some parents at the hospital have been turning away Asian doctors and nurses or demanding to know if they’ve been tested for COVID-19.

Others have refused to share waiting rooms with families who appear Asian, believing their ethnicity is linked to the disease.

Dr Stuart Lewena, Director of Emergency Medicine at the hospital, said it’s been happening for more than a week to several staff.

“We became aware of this a week ago when one of our staff came forward and let us know she’d been approached by the family of a child who she was going to be treating; the parents had requested that she not treat their child because of concerns she might have coronavirus.

“That was clearly a comment made purely on her racial appearance.

“As a result of that we had a few more staff come forward and say that yes, they’d been experiencing similar behaviour.

“So we thought it was important we shone a light on that as the unacceptable behaviour that it is, and give our staff some strategies on how to deal with that.”

Health authorities say that while the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China is a concern, the risk of exposure to virus in Victoria is very low and has nothing to do with a nurse, doctor or patient’s ethnicity.

Victoria’s health minister, Jenny Mikakos, says such prejudice is a complete misconception.

“It’s just plain wrong, and shows a complete disrespect,” she told 3AW this morning.

The hospital has today launching an anti-racism warning, condemning coronavirus-related abuse and behaviour that defies medical advice.

Click PLAY to hear Dr Stuart Lewena, Director of Emergency Medicine, detail the racism to Ross and John