Stories about medical

Based on real-life story of Muslim immigrants, Ali’s Wedding hits too close to home

Based on the real-life experiences of its star and screenwriter Osamah Sami, Ali’s Wedding follows the story of its neurotic titular character Ali (Sami), an Iraqi immigrant living with his family in a Muslim community in Melbourne, Australia, where his father Mahdi (Don Hany) also happens to be a cleric. Ali’s life is burdened by many of the same expectations that people even in our society can relate to, particularly the young people: his parents want him to become a doctor. But after he fails the medical school entrance exam, he is caught in a web of lies regarding his grades. He ...

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Genetically ‘male’ woman gives birth to twins. Great, but did she have to?

A few days back, I read about a medical miracle that occurred in the Indian city of Meerut. I understand that a ‘genetically male’ woman has given birth to twins. A 32-year-old ‘woman’ had a rare hormonal conditional where she looks like a woman but is ‘almost’ a man. She did not attain puberty and has never menstruated. Her uterus was underdeveloped, her ovaries were non-functional and that she had an unpronounceable condition called “XY gonadal dysgenesis “(whew that sure was a mouthful). In short, ‘her’ body was not designed for natural conception or to hold a nine month pregnancy. She ...

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Jodi Picoult’s ‘Handle with Care’: Would you tell your daughter you didn’t want her?

While browsing through the fiction section of a local bookstore, I came across Jodi Picoult’s ‘Handle with Care’. After ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, which was adapted as an award winning motion picture, Picoult has given us another brilliant contemporary novel. Similar to her previous work, her new narrative also focuses on an ethical medical dilemma. What intrigued me to pick up this book was the subtitle, which read, “To save your daughter you must tell the world you wish she’d never been born.” As I pondered over the conflicting statement, I walked over to the counter to pay for the book – I ...

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What if your daughter doesn’t want to be a ‘doctor bahu’?

In a recent conversation with a mother to little girls, I asked her what she had planned for her children with regards to their education. I was merely referring to school choices but she told me, quite categorically, “Matric, FSc and then straight to medical college!” It seemed quite standard a response for the desi mind-set, but I couldn’t help but wonder. What if they want to do something else? What if they want to grow up to be writers or study hieroglyphics or become physicists or God forbid, singers? What if they hate being doctors? What if they hate studying biology? What ...

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His only crime was being an Ahmadi

Ashir is just two-years-old. Yesterday, he was witness to the most horrific tragedy anyone can imagine. His father – a 50-year-old doctor – was brutally murdered in Pakistan. His crime: He belonged to the Ahmadiyya community. Dr Mehdi Ali was a US-trained cardiologist on a medical mission to Pakistan. He was visiting Tahir Heart Institute; a state-of-the-art Cardiology hospital in Rabwah, Pakistan. Many Pakistanis cannot even afford routine medical visits. Dr Ali was bringing specialised advanced medical care to these poor people, free of cost. It was the second day of his three-week humanitarian trip when tragedy struck. The doctor ...

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Get well soon Edhi sahib, you are one in a million!

Dear Edhi sahib, As you lay in the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation for your routine dialysis, we hear worrying news that you have been admitted in the ICU. Edhi sahib, I am very worried about your deteriorating health, as I assume every Pakistani is. I have been checking the news every hour to find out about your well-being. I wish you a speedy and a complete recovery. You are 86-years-old, we pray you live to be 186. While, like every Pakistani, I am praying for you, a part of me is covertly but awfully scared. What if… you…? I am not known to be an emotionally ...

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Doing hash? Think again

During the first week of January 2014, I was surprised to read three different news stories about marijuana – Washington became the first American state to legalise sale of marijuana for adult recreational uses, Sahiwal police seized a truck carrying hash worth 650 million rupees and Uruguay is now the first country in the world to legalise marijuana trade.  Usually, anti-narcotic laws are not strictly enforced in Pakistan when it is comes to hashish (hash) and other drugs of the same family including marijuana (charas), cannabis, weed, garda and bhang. These drugs are widely available in Pakistan and almost anyone who wants them can get them from a local ...

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Lessons from a halaqa in the US: There is more to Islam than we ‘think’

A couple of months ago, I was invited to attend a halaqa (Arabic for group study) at a university in the US where I was a visiting medical student for my elective. The halaqa had been organised by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of the university. I was curious to attend it for I had never been to one before. The concept seemed a bit unusual; it was not supposed to be like a dars, a lecture on any Islamic topic, but more of an open discussion. Moreover, the discussion was to be held under the supervision of a mentor who had the proper knowledge ...

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Plans never work out… especially when you get cancer

My life was going according to plan; everything was going well. I had passed my first year of pre-medical with marks good enough to get me into a medical college and now my second year was almost over. My father is a doctor as well and I have always looked up to him. He has always been my idol. The doctor genes run in the family; my sister is also on her way to becoming a doctor from King Edward Medical University (KEMU), one of the most prestigious medical colleges in Pakistan. Because of the gene pool, I aspired to be a doctor as ...

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Pir Sahab’s orders: Don’t breast-feed your child or eat meat

Recently, a two-month old boy, Faizan, was brought to the hospital where I work, by his grandmother. She complained that he suffered from severe diarrhoea. I immediately asked her to bring Faizan’s mother so that we could establish breast-feed for the baby. We are currently in the process of educating mothers about the importance of breast-feeding at our malnutrition stabilization centre, and are trying to help them establish or re-establish breast feeding. In reply to my request, she answered, “Who tou nahi ayegi kyunke uska perhaiz hai.” (She won’t come because she is on abstinence.) Seeing my perplexed expression, she told me ...

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