"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."
Mr Pascal's Wager himself.
Yesterday night, at the beginning of my graveyard shift in Emergency & Trauma, a trio of police officers frogmarched an 18-year-old Malay young lady into the Yellow Zone. She was clearly in a state of extreme agitation, struggling, kicking and screeching glass-shattering notes at the top of her lungs. Getting the savage screaming girl down onto a bed and restraining her consumed my attention for five whole minutes and by the time I looked around, the policemen were nowhere to be seen. So there I was, left with a very disturbed young woman tied down to a bed who continued to yell abuses at me and I had no idea what transpired, where she came from or who I could contact to find out. Our tax money well-spent right there. Thanks a lot, our boys in blue.
After taking a deep anger-purging breath, I had the medical assistant take her vital signs, shoved an IV cannula into a vein (she tried to bite me in the bid) and took some blood. I turned my back for a minute to run some initial tests on her blood but when I returned, I found two strange portly men wearing songkoks and ankle length robes standing by the patient’s side.
Must be her family members, I thought. They recited Arabic prayers at her while she barked curses back at them. I rolled my eyes at that and left them to it, thinking I could interview them when they were done – because Muslims in our country can be real explosive when you interfere in anything pertaining to their Religion of Peace™. I didn’t want to make the news. I could already see the headline in my head: ATHEIST DOCTOR FORBIDS MUSLIM FAMILY FROM PRAYING FOR THEIR LOVED ONES IN EMERGENCY ROOM.
I returned shortly after and found that the men had drawn the curtains all around her bed. A whole lot of commotion and noise were coming from within so I took a peek. One of them was hunched over her at the head of the bed. His hands were clasped around her face and he was shouting angrish at her while she shouted back. He was trying to get her to recite something Arabic but that was to no avail. At one point, he even threatened to murder her (or what he believed was inside her). As he became increasingly more flustered, I saw his fingers pressing harder and harder onto her mastoid processes - those are the bony bumps behind your ears - till his knuckles were white and trembling. The girl started whimpering in pain and cried out, begging him to stop hurting her.
"What is your name?" the man asked again. Eyes screwed up in agony, she said it. He appeared satisfied at her response and lifted his fingers off her mastoids. Then, looking at me and smiling a winning smile, he informed me that everything was under control. He casually gestured at the IV canulla I inserted earlier and said:
"You can pull that out now. You won’t be needing that anymore."
It takes a lot to surprise me but for I confess that I was stunned for a second by what he was telling me to do.
"Who are you?" I finally asked, my hackles rising. Who the fuck are you?
"I am Ustaz Aladdin and my companion here is Ustaz Ali Baba," the spectating partner of the pair explained in Malay. The names had been changed to minimize my own risk of getting sued. "This young lady here was possessed by an evil spirit. It was a difficult battle but we finally cast it out."
"Oh really?" I remarked acidly as my eyebrows climbed my forehead. "Are you related to her?"
"No, we just wanted to help."
At this point, the girl hulked out again and renewed her commitment to contact space aliens using only the strength of her voice alone. She struggled so violently against her bonds that I was afraid that she was going to dislocate something or worse, damage our expensive bed. Ustaz Ali Baba clamped down on her face again in a hurry with his fingers positioned behind her ears, ready to unleash torture anew. He began murmuring something Quranic.
|From right to left: the patient, Ustaz Ali Baba, Ustaz Aladdin, and|
the beer gut of the security guard I brought with me to confront them.
"Please unhand my patient," I told him. "You failed. Whatever you did to her is obviously not working."
Also you shamans are not part of hospital personnel and are of no relations to her – how dare you curtained yourselves off alone with her without any chaperones and manhandled her without her or her family’s consent? What you motherfakirs were doing is called assault and battery, and that shit is highly illegal. And who died and made you King of the ER that you deem yourselves to be in any position of authority to order me to remove my acutely psychotic patient's IV cannula? Also, if you claim to represent and speak for Allah, you better have papers bearing his almighty signature to prove it, you goat-bearded wizard-robed balderdashers.
Besides, isn't it haram to touch a non-mahram stranger of the opposite sex based on what the Prophet Muhammad said? These two ustaz (ustazes?) clearly didn't think so.
While I was addressing them, my patient started retching. Ustaz Aladdin cried excitedly, declaring that the young lady was about to cough up the demon possessing her. I ignored him and quickly turned her on her side to prevent her from aspirating her vomitus. When she stopped dry heaving, she - surprise, surprise! - remained aggressive and unruly. I stared daggers at the pair of defeated exorcists and said, "Please leave now."
To calm her down and to prevent her from injuring herself and her caregivers, I gave her 5 milligrams of midazolam. In just a moment, she winked out like a light (something I couldn't have done without an IV cannula).
It must had been a strange sort of ghost, demon, or djinn that can be subdued by a sedative which only affects her brain and not her body. It's almost like her psychotic actions were, gosh, all dictated by her own brain! I wanted to point this out to our Saracenic Tweedledee and Tweedledum but they had already evaporated from the Yellow Zone. Got it under control, they said. Pull out the IV cannula, they said.
When the sedative wore off and she came to an hour later, she was acting normally again.
More than even the belief in superstitions and the insistence on blaming mental illness on demonic possession, I was shocked by the gall and presumptions of the two Muslim clerics - civilians all - who thought that it was okay for them to walk into a restricted area of the Accident and Emergency department without authorisation, impose themselves onto an ill patient whom they do not know, commit assault and battery on her, and then somehow have enough nerve left in them to tell the patient's doctor what to do in regards to her medical treatment. No one, not the security guards, not my colleagues, not even my senior officers dared to reproach them for their highly unethical and unlawful actions towards a patient that was entrusted to our care. It is because they are afraid of offending the religious over-sensitivities which certain people professing to certain faiths wear around themselves like some sort of criticism-proof Kevlar jacket. It is because they afford certain people far more respect that they rightfully deserve, as their deplorable conduct showed.
It is this same misplaced respect and cowardice of standing up for what's right that led to this brutal attack orchestrated by an imam on a poor innocent Muslim woman in the UK, and this fatal exorcism in Belgium conducted by a "sheikh" and his acolytes in Belgium which ended in the death of another Muslimah.
It is high time we point out the painfully obvious fact that these self-professed spokespersons of their respective gods have no fucking clue what they are doing. Two such lowlifes attacked my patient, and I had a responsibility to protect her so I did what's right. Also, mistaking mental illness for demonic possession was something medieval yokels would do, back when trepanation and having holes in the head was still in vogue. Now that we are living in the age of smartphones, the internet and self-flushing toilets, I can't believe that people can still be this stupid.
P.S. When I related this incident to one of my colleagues who witnessed the whole thing, she told me she thinks that my patient might be possessed for real - but she disapproved of what the two ustaz was doing and probably thought that a Christian exorcist would had been more effective given her own beliefs. I just laughed loudly at her face and walked away.
Buster of ghostbusters,
k0k s3n w4i