Belfast Telegraph

MLA slams 'neanderthal' who abused cancer patient

By David Young

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie yesterday slammed "neanderthals" who verbally abused a cancer patient leaving Craigavon Area Hospital.

It's understood that the woman had been attending an appointment at the hospital.

After her appointment, a woman apparently offended by the patient's Islamic headscarf hurled a volley of abuse, accusing the patient of 'medical tourism' and telling her to 'go back home'.

It's understood the victim was a Northern Ireland woman who had converted to Islam some years ago.

The victim - who said the incident was not the first of its kind she's experienced - reported the incident both to the police and to the security manager at the hospital.

After speaking with the victim yesterday, Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said: "It is outrageous that a young woman was racially abused while leaving Craigavon Area Hospital after attending an appointment

"She is currently battling cancer, so she is going through enough trauma and distress without neanderthals throwing abuse at her.

"This type of behaviour is intolerable. There can simply be no excuse or explanation for it.

"The United Kingdom is a Christian country and as such we have Christian values of benevolence, compassion and tolerance.

"Those who verbally and racially abused this woman have no comprehension of these Christian values.

"It is senseless bigotry and I urge anyone who may have witnessed the events to go straight to the police."

The Southern Health Trust said it was aware of the incident.

"Our security staff carried out a preliminary investigation immediately after the incident," it said in a statement.

"We condemn any form of abuse of patients, staff or visitors and urge anyone with information about this incident to report it to the police."

Police said the woman declined further investigation of the incident, but they have recorded the details on their system should they be needed later.

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