It was a blurry morning. I can barely open my eyes but my phone kept ringing forcing me to answer. And in a busy on call night, a phone call can only mean a bad thing. No one will disturb you 3 am in the morning only for a chat, unless someone life is threatened.
I pick it up, I listen, and there it goes, a patient is shouting like crazy in my emergency department. Reluctantly, I had to go and see the patient. Could it be acute psychosis at this hour. I keep asking myself, why at this hour?
Subsequently I found out that a young women was brought by her family because they cannot manage her at home. She had pressured speech, shouting and scolding everybody, talking about all of this random things without any particular reason and she does not seem to stop. With my eyes still blurred, I still asking myself why they came at this hour? As I expected they bring her in because they cannot sleep at home as the patient keep shouting and talking loudly about random things. She does not seem to be aggressive though.
Now she is my problem. They can go back and sleep, now I have to stay awake taking care of this one. And there are a few more side dish, acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma, pneumonia, high blood pressure, as usual. Some of them need admission. What about this young women talking non stop and loudly in front of me? Shouting at home disturbing the family versus shouting in my ward and disturbing all my other patient. Can they come a bit earlier? Or a bit later in the morning where everyone are awake.
Turn out to be the symptoms has been there for three days and they choose the exact 3 am in the morning to come to my emergency department. Can I refer psychiatrist and go back to sleep? Ask the psychiatric team to review her. That would not be happening in district hospital like mine. I am alone and I am the only doctor still working at this hour.
I need a simple solution, sedate her, admit her, observe, 3-4 hours later give a call to psychiatric team. No harm I guess. Do no harm. Now, I have to explain what I’m going to do to the relative of the women. To my surprise, they ask me viva question about her condition. They ask me about the pathogenesis of the disease (something like that) and hoping that I can give them a satisfying answer at this hour? I try my best. But their reaction was “ this doctor doesn’t look confident, lets just bring her home then.”
What the hell?! I almost burst. Its 3 am, I need to write all the admission and fill up all the drug form, investigation form and there were 2 other patient waiting for my review. I have try my best to describe about the possible of bipolar disorder but I can’t be so sure. I need to investigate further. Now they are judging me.
After a heavy discussion among themselves, they decided to admit her to the ward, don’t give to much sedation, tomorrow call the specialist hospital to bring the medication for her.
NOW THEY GIVING ME ORDER?
I don’t have time to be angry at them. I need to do my work. And I need sleep before the next day working hour started.
When I was busy doing the admission for her, I hear one of the senior member of the relative of this patient is giving lecture. It’s a about devil, demon and all other stuff that can cause her problem. He describe it like he know exactly that is what happening to her. I always have problem with traditional belief like this. But I do not care. Let them be. Let me do my work.
In the end, I manage to admit the poor young women to my ward. It does not end there. The next morning, at around 9 am my colleague call me because she said that the relative of this patient did not want her to see the patient. Now she need my help to talk to the relatives again. Not again.
I had to do it. This time, I really could not do anything more. The relative insist that the patient is not sick. It was all demon and devil’s work. She does not need medication. She need prayer and perhaps a religious person to chase the demon out. I had to talk and talk and talk again again and again explaining that we can help her someway with modern medicine and I will not stop them from believing their belief but please at least try both modern and traditional medicine. I could not persuade the relatives. They keep saying that they are muslim and I am too a muslim doctor must understand that this is not a disease but a devil’s play.
They even give me ‘advice’ regarding how we should believe on all of this as a muslim. They were judging my faith now. Perhaps doubting whether I am a true muslim or not. And perhaps they refused my colleague to see that patient because my colleague is a non muslim doctor.
The last question I ask the ‘ustaz’ was why do you bring her to our hospital in the first place if you do not want our medicine. He said, we are not doing anything since 4 am until 8 am to the patient. They expect us to feed her and give her IV fluid so that she will not get gastritis due to not taking any food for two days.
It was 4 am until 8 am. 4 hours, patient has been sleeping because the sedation I gave at 4 am till around 7 am and not they blame us for not doing anything. What about them refusing medicine and trying to bring that patient back without us even able to review her in the morning?
What I am trying to say here is, I am a muslim and I am a doctor learning modern medicine. There is none fact in my study and in any literature in medicine saying that we must not believe in god or religion. Yes maybe there are a lot of pioneer in medicine being atheist but you know that the father of modern medicine himself is a muslim. Ibnu sina is a respected physician and a pioneer modern medicine in the world.
I am quite sad to met a muslim like this. Ashamed. Pity to my colleague who is a non muslim trying to help a muslim patient. What we muslim do? We chase her out because she is non muslim, refuse any modern medicine that will harm the patient more (harming oneself is haram in islam), then judging where I stand in my religion.
Please stop. Please educate muslim like this. I am so ashamed if this ever happen again. And it will. For sure.