Even in a pandemic, foreign doctors face a system rigged against them

April 6, 2020

By Vancouver Sun |

Had Dr. Mehdi Shahsavan stayed in British Columbia, he would be sitting on the sidelines of the COVID-19 epidemic like thousands of foreign-trained doctors, writing letters and signing petitions begging for a chance to work.

Instead, the Iranian-trained general practitioner and emergency room specialist is on the front lines in the Prairie town of Assiniboia (pop. 2,389).

Shahsavan arrived there in September along with another Iranian-trained doctor. They were greeted by the mayor and feted at a come-and-go tea at the Town Hall after having successfully passed the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons’ practice-ready assessment program.

Even in that small town, the clinic where they work has already had a COVID case, a reminder of how pervasive the virus’s spread is that. Fortunately, the patient has fully recovered and there were doctors available.

Other patients may not be so lucky.

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