All Heidi Kravitz Dunn wanted when she went to the doctor at 8:50 Friday morning was to get a physical.
Instead, the Havertown woman said, she got a "rant" from her doctor of eight years about the "riots" on college campuses that followed Donald Trump's election as president. Within minutes, she said, she had been kicked out of his practice for disagreeing with his political views.
"The best person is now elected," she said family physician Joseph LaBricciosa told her. "He will be good for us."
Dunn, who was feeling shaky because she has hypoglycemia and had fasted all night for blood work, didn't want a political discussion, but said she disagreed and said the students had a right to protest peacefully. "I just wanted to get my blood taken so I could eat a banana," she said. Uncomfortable with his angry reaction, she said, she got up to leave.
She said he told her: "If you don't believe what I believe, then this isn't the practice for you and you need to go."
In an email, LaBricciosa called the incident "unfortunate" and said he had not "discharged" his patient. The doctor said he had sent a letter of apology by certified mail. In it, he said, he had pledged to "refrain from discussing political topics."
In his email, he added that he saw their interaction differently. "The truth is she walked out of the exam room because she did not want to hear my views and how they related to her difficulties and frustrations as an inner-city teacher," he said.
Dunn, who teaches eighth grade at a Philadelphia charter school, had the Veterans Day holiday off and wanted to get some routine testing out of the way. She went early because she knew she wouldn't feel well without food. The office insisted that she see "Dr. Joe" before her blood was taken. She did manage to get a flu shot first.
She said he came in, shook her hand and started talking about being thankful for veterans and active soldiers. When they got down to business, he asked her about stress. She said the school year was off to a stressful start. Then, she said, he talked about the problems of inner-city children, "about how they don't listen and how they're raised in single-family homes and there's no discipline."
"I love our school," she said. "I love my students."
That's when he started talking about the college protests.
Dunn said she left without getting the blood work done, feeling much more stressed than she had when she arrived. Afterwards, she said she filed a complaint with her insurance company, the American Medical Association, and a hospital where LaBricciosa has privileges. She posted about her experiences on Facebook. A friend shared her post, she said, with Pantsuit Nation, a Facebook hub for supporters of Hillary Clinton.
By evening, she was still upset that her longtime doctor had barely asked about her health. "People need to be aware that this should not be tolerated at all," she said. "It's completely unprofessional and unethical."
Dunn already has a new doctor.
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