A medical doctor in the Philadelphia area refused to allow a blind man and his guide dog to wait in the waiting room for the man’s wife, who was her patient, reports to MyFoxPhilly.
“The dog is not allowed in the office, it is a pet,” Dr. Priya Punjabi apparently told Joe Cichonski, who can see only some shadow and light from one eye, and nothing from the other. Hero is his dog, and is also his eyes his best friend. Together, they can go anywhere and do everything Cichonski could if we were sighted.
Cichonski’s wife, who was going to be examined in part for social security benefits (SSI?) was in the examining room when she says Dr. Punjabi came in, asked if that was her husband, told her there was a problem because he should not be inside with his dog. “I refuse to examine you, and I’ll call social security,” Crystal Cichonski said Punjabi told her. So the Cichonskis left.
Of course, the doctor’s actions fly in the face of the Americans with Disablities Act in a very big way. I’m not sure if there are going to be any legal repercussions from this, but the MyFoxPhilly story says Dr. Punjabi told a police officer who was investigating the incident that she has a phobia about dogs. So it does seem police were called in at least.
Dosters, even if she has a dog phobia, that’s not a get-out-of-jail free card, is it? Was it possible that a doctor – someone who is highly educated on the human condition – would just not know about guide dogs being allowed everywhere humans are? When this refusal of service happens in restaurants or stores, it’s bad enough. But the safety of a doctor’s office? Unbelievable…
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