When you become a physician, you take on the incredible responsibility of protecting and caring for human life. This is one reason why doctors, as well as nurses, typically occupy a special place in society. Their work often involves life or death matters.
To jettison that responsibility, especially when it results in human suffering or even death, is a very serious matter. In fact, it is a crime. We’re talking about human lives here, and there is nothing more precious.
A group of Muslim doctors in Pakistan are alleged to have refused to treat a man because he was “unclean,” and because they were fasting. If true, they need to become prison inmates as opposed to physicians.
“In yet another incident exposing the lack of conformity to safety rules and the alleged apathy of medical practitioners, a sanitary worker suffocated to death on Thursday in Umerkot. The deceased, 30-year-old Irfan Masih, fell unconscious along with three other sanitary staff while cleaning a manhole on Chorr Road in Umerkot.
“He died hours later in the government hospital in front of doctors who were allegedly reluctant to treat him because Irfan was drenched in sewage sludge.”
No one ever promised prospective physicians that all their work would be neat and tidy. That’s what masks, protective garments, and gloves are for. The doctors have no excuse.
“‘The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was “napaak [unclean]”,’ claimed Irshad Masih, the mother of the deceased.”
“Pervez Masih, Irfan’s brother, said that he cleaned his brother’s body, after which the doctors sent an oxygen cylinder. ‘But the cylinder was empty. And, before they could arrange another cylinder, he [Irfan] died,’ he told local media.”
This is malfeasance compounded by gross incompetence. The injured man’s brother had to clean him up as opposed to hospital employees? And then the doctors “sent” an empty oxygen tank for the patient?
The bereaved family, to their credit, refused to let this issue die with their family member.
“After Irfan breathed his last at the hospital, the family, community and locals staged a sit-in demonstration, along with the body, on the inter-district road connecting Umerkot to other parts of Sindh. The protest lasted for 10 hours before ending on assurances by Additional Deputy Commissioner Subhash Chandar Sham that an inquiry would be conducted against the municipal authorities and doctors.”
Perhaps there is some hope of justice.
In any event, Pakistan has never been on our list of “must visit” places, and this certainly doesn’t put it there. People do get ill on trips, and one would hate to wonder whether you are going to be treated for an illness or injury or not. Especially if the definition of “unclean” is interpreted spiritually and thus extended to include all non-Muslims.
Source: Express Tribune