Posted on October 4, 2004

US Doc In Race Row Lashes Out (SA), Oct. 1

Durban — The American doctor involved in a race row at Stanger Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal said on Friday she fears for her life and will not return to the hospital when her suspension ends.

Paediatrician Kim Langley, 57, told Sapa she was still nursing her bruises after workers forcefully evicted her from the premises on Monday.

Langley, the hospital manager and the medical manager were suspended by the provincial health department this week pending the outcome of an investigation.

This comes after hospital staff submitted a memorandum of grievances to the department and embarked on two days of strike action.

It is alleged that Langley assaulted an electrocardiogram technician at the hospital, and used racist terms.

The striking workers also accused the hospital management of doing nothing about the matter.

But Langley insisted: “I will categorically deny the claims of racism and even take a lie detector test.”


She said accusations that she used the “K-word” were false.

“I don’t even know what the K-word means. In fact in America they use the N-word and that gives me goosebumps.”

She said she was involved in the civil rights campaign in the US from the age of 14 and while at college in the 70s wrote an essay on South African history.

Langley said she had left a lucrative private practice in California to “help fight the Aids epidemic in South Africa”.

She said she and the electrocardiogram technician argued regularly because the technician would often barge into her consulting room while Langley was seeing patients.

At one stage, Langley alleged, the technician, after being asked to leave the consulting room, shouted “all whites are alike” and “go back to America we don’t need you”.

Thrown out

Langley said she was so scared she wrote to the hospital manager and personnel manager telling them she feared for her safety.

Describing her “eviction” from hospital grounds, Langley alleged four “large men grabbed me and dragged me out of the ward”.

“They lifted up my skirt, lifted up my t-shirt and pulled off my doctor’s coat.”

She said with everyone else watching, she was dragged outside where security personnel opened the hospital gate and she was thrown out.

“No one came to help me not even the hospital security or a doctor in my department who stopped to ask what was happening.

“What a waste in a country where there are not enough doctors.

“I left my family and friends behind in America and only earn a tenth of my previous salary.

“My daughter fears for my life. I fear for my life. I came here to help these people. I have done nothing but good,” she said.

The provincial health department was not immediately available for comment.