An original translation by CB Sashenka
March 24, 2014
Clandestine abortions and circumcisions on the fly become a plague: African and Asian doctors claim to have found a solution
How to deal with the complications of health that are related to cultural practices that put life in danger? The question can seem random, but it’s not. If the figures of the Italian Institute of neuro-traumatology (INI) are true, then some 200 people die each year in Rome and the surrounding area, due to the continuation of surgical operations practiced out of normal hospitals. Women who give birth far from the proper places, adapt, because the religion prohibits that they be examined by male gynecologists. Young girls die because their parents are determined that the girls be “cut”, as prescribed by their country’s traditions, but cannot find a doctor who agrees to commit such a “crime”. Surgeons who balk at child circumcision in the name of conscientious objection: all the people who find themselves up against this wall of incomprehension are sent to clandestine practitioners, in apartments or at the back of a shop without guarantee of asepsis (non-contamination).
The result is a series of “suspicious” deaths; corpses brought into mortuaries due to death, the unexplained wounds or the accidents without much specification. Hemorrhages, infections, unpleasant scarring cause a real calamity in Italy, maintains the INI (Italian Institute of neuro-traumatology). In response to this crisis, the AMSI, the Italian association of foreign doctors, supported by the INI, made a shock proposal, with an openness to some positive “discrimination”: to create a hospital where the barriers of languages and customs will not be an obstacle, because the practitioners there will be African or Asian who know the customs, but will also be medical experts who are regularly trained in Italy.
Dr. Jessica Faroni is convinced: many of the deaths could have been avoided in Latium (Rome and its neighbourhoods) if the sick had been assured that they were not violating any cultural or religious prohibitions when the need to go to a health facility was warranted. However, she maintains, the Italian law only authorizes this kind of patient intervention for strict health reasons. The religious or ritual reasons are not taken into account by the law. Those in that situation have only two solutions: the private clinics, which are expensive, or “backyard” circumcisions! Whatever happened to the idea that “to help people who have difficulty to lead a life in conformity with their customs and habits” when they go to the hospital.
« In a hospital managed by foreign doctors, the citizens will have all the scientific guarantees of the medical service”, Dr. Faroni affirms – without considering that (circumcision) could be carried out without violating the existing law. Doubts and skepticism? We will know for certain very soon. International hospital INI will be inaugurated in a few weeks; it will be located on the hills of Rome, in Grottaferrata. The doctors are specialists from Asia and Africa who were already contacted. The patients, ensures the INI, will be respected in their customs and their religions. And they will pay a price affordable to all, adds Foad Aodi, the director of the future establishment and AMSI founder. He affirms that during the past three years, according to statistics, some 15,000 circumcisions were carried out in hospitals, 35% of which were carried out by Muslim doctors. It is also this trend that is necessary to correct.