Friday, 6 December 2013

Lip Service

Lip Service

Lip Service is defined as : support for someone or something that is expressed by someone in words but that is not shown in that person’s actions.

Previously, it was the vaccine issue… pseudo-religious lip service about how Allah has created human beings as perfect and we don’t need any harmful vaccine for our newborns. (Gosh, even though in hindsight, that might not be a case of lip service. More like, a case of sheer stupidity)

In this case, I meant the lip service offered by so-called pious concerned public about the aurat of muslimahs in the healthcare settings in general, and in labour room in specific.

It’s a religious lip service because:
1)The same religious people who want only female doctors for themselves and their wives are also sometimes the same religious people who would make questionable religious statement that sounds like this: “A good wife is someone who will stay at home and take care of the kids, to raise them up as future khalifah of this world.” Sounds so nice, isn’t it?

- Your action of being derogatory towards working mothers is in CLEAR contradiction to your wish to see ONLY WOMEN DOCTORS being in-charge of your female family members. What? Don’t you think those female doctors have their own kids? You expect them to dance attendance on you 24/7 and leave their kids behind at home because your family needs them more?

2)The same religious men who think they sound religiously macho when they say “I want female doctors for my wife because her vagina is NOT for the delectable view of any other eyes but mine” are sometimes also the same men who don’t seem to really care being examined by female doctors for themselves. Hypocrite MUCH?

-I get it! You trust female doctors to not be affected by handsome men the way male doctors will be to beautiful women. Perhaps, in your religious estimation, males being clinically examined by female doctors are not as haram as females being clinically examined by male doctors?

- How about if we insist that we women doctors, do not want to examine male patients? It is not fair to women doctors that they are burdened to dance attendance on BOTH males and females… but their male counterparts are responsible to care for male patients only. And one minute ago, you tell me that you want women to bloody stay at home to fit your expectation of a good, pious wife.

- These people seem to think that at this moment in our healthcare scenario, we KKM doctors have the luxury to choose our specialty based on our gender? Sorry… we are talking about Malaysia. We don’t have unlimited resources like other rich developed countries. But, hey wait a minute, not ONE rich developed country has been able to guarantee that you will get the right doctor according to your gender. Because ‘right’ in the clinical sense, is about being adequately trained and competently able.. and THAT, is NOT gender-classified.

3)The same religious people who insist on being attended by female doctors only are sometimes the same people who suddenly think that being in hospital means that they don’t actually have to perform the five obligatory prayers.
- This is REAL!! Can anybody’s common sense of priority get any more warped than THIS?

4)What do these religious people say when we have female nurses attending male patients? Is that okay, now? You don’t feel the need to question it? To address it?
You know, it’s funny when people go around making rash statements that the government is stupid and only come up with half-baked policies that don’t even work and sometimes tend to backfire on them. It’s funny because our government is the reflection of our public. The public is stupid and expect stupid things without taking into account every little aspects of a good feasible policy and without the common sense of reality check. So government have to stoop to their level of stupidity to cater to their needs, in the hope of being voted again for the next term.
Stupid public and stupid government is JUST like the case of chicken and egg.

Now let me give you a scenario to ponder. This scenario is courtesy of my friend and my senior in Newcastle Uni – an O&G medical officer- who posted her thoughts on facebook. Dr. Arneza Syahila


“One day, insyaAllah, Malaysia will provide just female doctors to all women in labour or women with obstetrics/gynae problems in all different parts of the country – in the city, in rural areas, in remote areas and deep deep in the jungle. One day… insyaAllah… one day.
But we haven’t come to that state yet. The reality now is such that, in some rural/remote areas, KKM can only provide one or two doctors in charge of that particular health site. One of them, or even both, can be male doctors.

Imagine if you go to that place for a holiday or balik kampung or whatever, all of sudden your wife faces an obstetric emergency that can be life threatening, and the only doctor available in that locality is a male doctor who cannot do anything because, too bad, he was not given the chance to deal with such emergency cases during his training as a houseman.. simply because male doctors were not allowed to deal with O&G patients in big hospitals. Yes, your wife’s life is in danger and you might lose her. 

Now, try to look at another perspective. Imagine your wife is the only female doctor in that locality with 2 other male colleagues. Obstetric emergency can happen at anytime of the day or night. If the other 2 male colleagues were not well-equipped to deal with obstetric emergencies, your wife has to be on-duty/oncall for 24 hours per day 356 days per year. Will you be happy?
As i said, one day Insya-Allah one day there will be plenty of female doctors in all different parts of the country (termasuk ceruk2 kampung, atas bukit dan di hujung hutan belantara). Just bear in mind, before we can have that luxury of female doctors, we need to accept the fact that public hospitals are teaching hospitals for all these trainee male doctors, so that they can be equipped with some knowledge and experience before they will be sent out to serve at any part of the country.

Trust me, most male doctors don’t even like being in the labour room. But they have to be there for the safety of their future patients.
An O&G MO / An ex-rural doctor


I am a woman doctor. Before I was a Psychiatric MO, I had gone through 6 postings in housemanship training. My first posting was in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

And let me tell you this. You women may request only female doctors for yourselves. You men may request only female doctors for your wives. But not ALL of you will get what you wish for. You DO, of course, have the option of going to the private hospital and insist for it.

Before you huff and puff and storm off with holier-than-thou self-righteous ramblings, hear me out. I am a woman doctor. I am a Muslim doctor. And the last time I check, aurat is not just what is below the belt.

We understand that you are shy, but you don’t have to make it as though KKM (or government) or Muslim O&G doctors are not Islamic-conscious. You don’t have to make it as though you are the only pure Muslim around who cares about protecting the aurat of muslimahs out there.You don’t have to make it sound as though we CHOOSE to continue training male doctors in labor room out of sheer sadistic pleasure of making you squirm in acute embarrassment.

Because we don’t.

We continue to train all doctors regardless of gender in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology because we don’t have the luxury to send ONLY female doctors to every single nook and cranny of the countries – in a large amount of them, too, if your expectations is to be catered – simply so that your wife don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being CLINICALLY attended by their male Muslim brothers. We continue to train all doctors regardless of gender in the field of Obs&Gyn so that when these doctors are sent to serve in the remote areas, they know enough basic knowledge and necessary procedures to be able to become safe doctors to the public over there – the public who don’t have the luxury of big city hospital to demand gender-specific doctor.

It’s for the sake of the public safety.

Your expectations should stand the test of reality check! Because, being religious is not just about making ‘hukum’.

Being religious is also hand to glove with being practical.

And what we are doing, is not even against the Islamic teaching in the first place. Ulama have debated over this issue a long time ago. When it is darurat, it is allowed for cross-gender interaction in the medical field. And nowadays, we practice chaperoning female patients with another female colleague. If you are questioning the state of darurah that we are having in the medical field after all I have said above, then I am done with you because you are obviously the sort who will never see reason.

All I want to say in this post is one thing: get off your high horse, oh you of pseudo-religious smartass! Your lip service can do nothing to save the public. You are making it worse for us, doctors and for them, patients.
Your pseudo-religious lip service is –metaphorically and literally – making the public sick.

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