549: HOW FAITH CAN HARM YOUR HEALTH #7: HIJABS IN HOSPITAL

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the blog that alerts you to problems you never knew you had (Joke, I hope.)
Trying to get a train ticket in Cairo railway station can prove tricky at certain times of day. I missed a train to Luxor, even though there was half an hour to spare. It’s not that there wasn’t anyone in the ticket office: there were several staff available who could have served me, but they were all on their knees on the  office floor facing Mecca. I was not a happy  bunny, to put it mildly. (I got there on the next train.)

I don’t like the (London) Daily Express. If you took them seriously you would think all Britain’s problems were due to immigrants. This is one of their stories to blacken the reputation of the Moslem minority in our land.
It’s not an example of faith damaging the practitioners of that faith, but of other people’s health being possibly put at risk by Moslem practice. It’s a tricky topic because the person that raises the issue will be labelled ‘racist’ and ‘intolerant’, even though they have the interests of the patients at heart. As there is a possibility that the stories below might be true and because  I’m not one to dodge a sensitive issue, I present the following for your consideration. Your comments would be much appreciated.

In solidarity,

Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.”

A surgeon of Czech origin, working in a British hospital, found himself at the heart of a storm, when he reported a colleague, a Moslem lady surgeon, for wearing her hijab (head scarf) while operating. In his view it was unsuitable, unhygienic attire, not to mention breaking the written guidelines of the hospital’s code of good practice. I don’t know why a head scarf should be unhygienic, but it would be easy enough to test it in a path lab to see if it had any pathogens in its folds.

The Express also had 2 related yarns to spin: one was a tale about Moslem doctors who chanted while operating. This might be disconcerting if you are not used to it, but I don’t see how it could harm the patients, who are anaesthatized anyway. I had a Christian colleague at the school I used to work in who whistled hymn tunes in the staff room. I found it distracting because they were the old tunes we all grew up with and I knew the words to all of them. It was just irritating, nothing more: I never complained. “Let sleeping dogs lie ” is my motto.

Should Moslem staff in an operating theatre at the time of the call to prayer, down tools and kneel on the floor, abandoning the patient until their prayers are over? More  sensitive  scheduling procedures should make that unnecessary, i.e. no Moslem should have to work at prayer times. Hopefully some of them would be flexible enough to postpone prayer time until the op is over. Reminds me of the dilemma several decades ago in Britain over whether Sikh motor cyclists should have to wear crash helmets or not, i.e. removing their turbans. I forget how that issue was resolved. A bit of flexibility and some common sense solve most problems.

Related Zingcreed Post:
The hijab

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