TALLINN, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - A doctor in ex-Soviet Estonia's capital Tallinn denied medical help to two Russian patients because they could not speak Estonian, Estonian television reported on Saturday.
A patient named Dmitry came to see a surgeon in a Tallinn hospital over a jaw injury on Friday, but the doctor demanded he speak Estonian and refused to examine him otherwise.
Dmitry's friend, Yekaterina, who spoke Estonian, wanted to help, but the doctor called both of them "swine" and said they should see a "psychiatrist" instead.
At the hospital's registration desk, the young people met with another Russian-speaking patient of that doctor who told them a similar story.
The patients said they would go to court if the hospital does not punish the doctor.
In televised comments, the Baltic state's social affairs minister, Hanno Pevkur, said medical aid should not be mixed up with a language exam and pledged to discuss the incidents with hospital officials.
This is not the first medical scandal involving Russian speakers in Estonia, where a doctor has been fired from a hospital for chucking the passport of a Russian patient into the dustbin because the teenager couldn't speak Estonian. The story received a lot of media attention.
The Baltic state pursues a rather controversial language policy that leads to tensions with a substantial Russian minority, most of who have lived in the republic since it was part of the Soviet Union.
Tensions have a historical background as Estonians see their Soviet past as the years of occupation.