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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

French Canadians and Jews

Editorial on the Hospital Strike

Montreal Gazette, June 20, 1934, p. 12

The striking internes of the Notre Dame Hospital and four other French-Canadian hospitals have returned to their posts, but the strike was not won by them; it was won by Dr. Sam Rabinovitch, who was willing to sacrifice his position in order that the hospitals might maintain the efficiency of their services and that their patients might have all the care and attention available under normal conditions. Dr. Rabinovitch did what no one of the other internes did; he placed the standards of his profession, the moral responsibility of the physician, above every personal or racial consideration; the responsibility for depriving the hospitals and their patients of the necessary medical and surgical personnel, a responsibility which rested so lightly on his fellow-internes, he declined to assume. His action altogether has been worthy and honorable, and from the standpoint of professional ethics he has set an example which those who declined to work with him will do well to emulate. Dr. Rabinovitch need not have resigned. The Notre Dame Hospital authorities were prepared to fulfil their contract with him and it was with reluctance that they were finally persuaded, by Dr. Rabinovitch himself, to allow him to leave the hospital. By this sacrifice Dr. Rabinovitch has rebuked the striking internes far more severely than in anything which appears in his letter of resignation. He has placed the interest of humanity first, as any worthwhile physician is bound to do, and not even the insult to his race has been permitted by him to influence his course. Undoubtedly and most emphatically the victory is his. The striking internes have returned to duties which they had deserted in thoroughly discreditable circumstances. They have submitted some form of apology to the Notre dame hospital which covers only the act of insubordination, and they have been reinstated. If they are satisfied with this outcome there is no much more to be said; the situation as regards their conduct is adequately summarized in the resolutions adopted unanimously by the administrative board of the Notre Dame Hospital in conjunction with the Medical Council.

© 1999 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College