Muslim students sue medical univ. over male/female physical exams

Two Muslim students have filed a case against Erasmus MC at the Board of Appeal for Higher Education in the Hague. Erasmus MC would not give these female students exemption for a practical part of the course practical clinical skills in which they would have to participate in a physical examination conducted by other students, AD reports.

For this subject all medical students have to perform an examination on a fellow student and therefore also be examined themselves. This raised concerns in the Muslim students who did not want a male student examining them. The one student initially applied for an exemption for this part of the subject, but was rejected. The other student already completed the subject, but decided to support her fellow Muslim student at the Board of Appeals.

According to David Drexhage from Erasmus MC, it is important that medical students gain practical experience. "The students also have to experience how an examination feels for a patient. That promotes understanding." Drexhage told the newspaper. According to him, students are aware that this component is required during enrollment. Erasmus MC thinks that if the Board of Appeals rules in favor of the students, it would have profound implications for the course.

The Board of Appeals will make a judgement in about 6 weeks.