President Trump's travel ban could affect doctor shortage in U.S.

SEATTLE - President Trump's executive order on immigration could affect the shortage of doctors in the U.S.

Hospitals around the country are putting out the warning that the temporary travel ban my prevent some of the best doctors in the world from being able to practice in the U.S. - including Seattle.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Rod Hochman - the CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, which includes Swedish Health - said 300 caregivers are affected by travel restrictions.

Hochman said, "We are in solidarity with you and are monitoring the situation very closely to gain as much clarity as we can."

At Swedish Cherry Hill Campus in Seattle, doctors all over the world come to learn and eventually practice through the Seattle Science foundation.

Now some are afraid to travel here which won't be good for patients in the long run.

"When that decision was made, it had a huge impact on what we do. We had surgeons cancel their trip," said Dr. Rod Oskouian, a neurosurgeon who heads the Seattle Science Foundation.

But, when President Trump's extreme vetting process was announced, Dr. Oskouian said he had doctors from those affected countries afraid to travel for fear they won't be able to return to the U.S., even with proper paperwork.

"They're nervous, because they don't know what's happening," said Dr. Oskouian. "When you go into being a physician, you don't ask people where they are from or what religion you are."

He said one prominent surgeon has already been told he can't leave Iraq.

It's an example of the immediate impacts the new travel restrictions are having on health care professionals.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine said 739 doctors that have applied for hospital residency, come from the seven mostly Muslim countries named in the temporary ban, and hospitals only accept the best of the best in a residency program.

"This is what makes America great right, people from all over the world coming together to work on problems and coming up with solutions," said Dr. Oskouian.

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