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Looking for an excuse to bunk classes? Buy a sickie!

Summary: JEDDAH: College students who have missed classes and fear losing marks often approach clinics that are known to sell fake sick notes for anything up to around SR1,000.


"I had to skip my classes for a week and when I spoke to my lecturer he told me to either give him a sick note or not show up again at any of his classes," said Ammar Al-Ali, a 22-year-old marketing student.

"However, the problem I had was that I didn't go to the doctor for the week I was sick. Instead, I just rested and had soup that my mother made," he added.

"I called my friends who suggested I go and visit a clinic near my house and buy a sick note. I was surprised how easy it was to get one; they asked me what kind of illness I wanted to put down and how much time I needed off," he added.

"I've bought so many sick notes. My clinic already has a file with my name on it on their computer. When I need a sick note, I can easily get one and have it delivered at my house too," said Talal Saeed, a 21-year-old finance student.

"I find them useful in helping me get time off school, and go to the beach, meet friends and have fun instead of attending boring classes," she added.

According to Elaf Al-Turki, a 19-year-old finance student, some teachers refuse to accept sick notes from certain clinics and ask for notes from specific hospitals to ensure they are not fake.

"I was once really sick and my father took me to a clinic near my house. The doctor asked me to rest and I missed an exam," she said. "When I called my teacher, she wouldn't accept my excuse and told me to get a report from a public hospital otherwise she would not let me clear that subject. I had to drag myself to the exam," she added.

This reporter went to a private clinic in the north of Jeddah and asked for a sick note from the receptionist, who said, "the doctor has to see you first and he will decide if you need a sick note."

The doctor told the reporter: "We usually don't give sick notes, but since you're in trouble with your college professor I'll make an exception."

He asked the reporter to pay SR150 at the reception office to open a file at the clinic and before handing the note asked for SR150 for himself. "I will give you two days off school and write that your wisdom tooth has a problem," he added. All this was done without a medical checkup.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Dec 5, 2010
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