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If I Were Health Minister

A nurse checks on patients in Zahedan.
A nurse checks on patients in Zahedan.
Conservative blogger Goldokhtar (Flower Girl) believes that religious laws are not being fully respected at hospitals in Iran.

Today, our religious jurisprudence teacher was going to teach us how to shroud a dead body. All of us went to a room and someone volunteered to act as the corpse. Before starting, he spoke about the essentials at the time of death; that while dying the feet should face the Kiblah [the direction of Mecca], and that it isn’t proper to throw yourself on to the chest of a dying man!

He talked a lot and said if he were Health Minister, he would make it mandatory for any doctor to take a course on religious jurisprudence and religious obligations. This is because doctors in hospitals practice almost everything without concern for whether it is in line with the dictates of the religion.

Since many doctors are not fully aware of the religious teachings, they do not observe them while treating their patients; they do not know their limits during checkups; and nurses as well, while discharging their duties, are in physical contact with both men and women. This is when the duties could just as well be performed by someone of the same sex as the patient. Also, as we all know, it is forbidden to use a restroom while facing the Kiblah, but hospitals neglect these crucial matters; the patient does his business while lying on his bed without realizing the direction he is facing. The CCU and ICU wards are not arranged so that, God forbid, should anything happen to a patient, he may die facing the Kiblah and the necessary tasks can be performed while the patient is passing away.

This is an Islamic State, for God’s sake. Things should be different from the western world and European countries, should they not? In fact, all courses at a graduate level should be taught with the relevant religious obligations.

I was reading the approved laws here; there are so many rules and regulations that are not implemented. Our religion has explained so much about medical ethics and legal norms -- why should our physicians be unaware of these?

Many hospitals do not have female specialists, such as orthopedists, urologists, general surgeons, etc. So female patients are compelled to refer to male doctors. The process of selecting hospital personnel is quite unreliable, which is why in some medical fields we have a shortage of staff, and a surplus in others. It all goes back to the system of accepting university applicants.

People’s attention became focused more and more on Islamic laws after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and hospitals are no exception. After the Cultural Revolution, marked changes were seen in the hospitals as far as observing Islamic laws was concerned. As there was no consideration for religion in the past, these changes were quite evident. But in the 30 years since the revolution, less and less attention is being paid to these matters in most hospitals, and patients are neglected.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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