Re: Refugee doctors who had to requalify not just UK #general

Irene Newhouse

National medical societies have been very protectionist for a long time. My earliest story concerns my aunt, who received her MD degree after studying medicine in Munich & defending her thesis in Berlin. This was just before WWI. She came down with TB & had to move to Switzerland to live at higher altitudes in those pre-antibiotic days. She was unable to pass the Swiss licensing exam, though she tried 3 times before she lost heart & gave up. My father was convinced that, as German medical schools of the time were the world's best, she should have been able to pass any reasonable exam.
My next example is from the diaries of a Viennese pharmacist. He received his pharmacy degree from the university of Vienna. When he came to the US as a Holocaust refugee, he learned he'd have to attend pharmacy school for 2 years in the US before even being permitted to take the licensing test. He pointed out bitterly in his diary that if he had the money for 2 years of university, he wouldn't have to work. He earned a living working in various private testing laboratories in the NYC area. Finally, after he retired from lab work, he was hired by a private Jewish hospital as pharmacist (obviously they knew how qualified he was, and as a private hospital didn't have to worry as much about US credentials) where he was very happy for several more years.
My third example is a man I knew personally - his path crossed my parents' in the Dominican Republic. He took the US licensing test. He was told he got a perfect score & he must have cheated, because no one gets a perfect score. So he took it again. This time, he was the only test-taker in the room & there was a proctor staring at him the whole time. He got another perfect score. He was told that although they couldn't figure how he could possibly have cheated this time, he must have, so they turned him down again. He took the test a third time. This time, he deliberately put down a wrong answer on 3 questions & passed.
He did not stay in the DR for many reasons, but one of them was that Jewish refugees were accepted into the DR if they "would not become public charges, and would work only in agriculture" - Kaplan, "Dominican Haven" ISBN 0-97-16859-3-2, p 25. Yet another country whose professional establishments did not want competition.
Irene Newhouse
Kihei Hawaii USA

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