Mary Seeman (left) with her mother, around the time of the incident described (courtesy Mary Seeman)

1958

This is a Faculty story that’s not very nice and I haven’t told it before because it was too hurtful. I will not reveal names (except my own).

It must have been 1958/59 and I was doing 3rd year clinics, living at home with my parents. My mother had a gall bladder attack one evening and was in terrible pain. I wanted to call our family doctor but didn’t have his phone number so looked in the phone book (those were the days, of course, of rotary phones and white page and yellow page phone books) to find his number. I was in a panic because of the pain she was in so didn’t look too carefully but dialed the first Dr…. (a common surname) I found.

I asked for Dr….  When he came to the phone, I asked him what I should do, my mother was in pain, she was having a gall bladder attack, could he come to the house? Our family doctor was a wonderful guy and still made house calls. The man who answered turned out not to be our family doctor, but I immediately recognized his voice – by coincidence he was in charge of the clinic group I happened to be in that term. Again, by coincidence, he had the same surname as our family doctor. He said, “I am not that snivelling Jew doctor. I don’t treat dogs and I don’t treat Jews.”

Those were the words. They’re imprinted in my memory. And that from a very well-known  professor, the leader of our clinic group. The man I had to answer to the next day in the clinic.

Mary Seeman (right), with husband Phil Seeman, during medical school at McGill (courtesy Mary Seeman)

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