Various organisations of medical practitioners including the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday strongly objected to the recent request of a group of female Muslim MBBS students here seeking permission to wear long-sleeve scrub jackets and surgical hoods in operation theatres.
The IMA said a patient is the most significant person in hospitals and operation theatres and the existing globally accepted protocol should be followed there without fail to ensure their safety.
Sharing similar views, the Kerala Government Medical Officers' Association (KGMOA) said granting permission for such a request is not scientifically or ethically appropriate.
Dr Sulphi Noohu, IMA state president, said the association wanted to continue the existing practices and protocols.
"Worldwide it is considered that a patient is the most significant person in hospitals and operation theatres. Certain internationally accepted protocols are being followed everywhere to ensure the safety of the patients and to protect them from getting infected," he said.
The IMA wanted to maintain these practises and protocols without fail, Noohu added.
Dr Suresh TN, president, KGMOA, said there is an infection control system in operation theatres and the scientific view is to maintain the protocols as such.
As part of the disinfection procedures, hands should be washed repeatedly and gloves should be worn inside the theatres.
"In such a circumstance, long sleeve dress, as demanded by the students, cannot be permitted considering the safety of patients. This is not appropriate scientifically or ethically," he told PTI.
A group of female Muslim MBBS students from the Government Medical College here recently expressed concern over not being allowed to wear hijab inside operation theatres and sought permission to don long-sleeve scrub jackets and surgical hoods at the earliest. A woman medico, belonging to the 2020 batch, wrote a letter to principal Dr Linnette J Morris on June 26, citing the matter. The request letter was also signed by six other female medical students from different batches of the college.
In the letter, the students complained that they were not allowed to cover their heads inside the operation theatre. "According to our religious belief, wearing hijab is mandatory for Muslim women under all circumstances," they said.
"Long-sleeve scrub jackets and surgical hoods are available, which allow us to maintain sterile precautions as well as our hijab," they said.
They wanted the principal to look into the matter and grant them permission to wear the same in operation theatres at the earliest.
Confirming the receipt of the letter, Morris said she explained to the students the need to follow the prescribed precautionary practices inside the operation theatres and the necessity to adhere to the present globally accepted dress code there.
The principal said it is not practically possible to wear long-sleeve jackets, as they demand, inside the theatres as several rounds of scrub-up (washing up to the elbow in running water) are involved while doing a surgical procedure or assisting in it.
To address the concerns of the students, Morris said she assured them she would form a committee of surgeons to look into the matter.
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