France: Doctors have difficulties dealing with burka

France: Doctors have difficulties dealing with burka

While the French National Assembly is debating the law banning the burka in public, doctors are testifying of their difficulties in providing the necessary care to women wearing the full veil.

Since the law of religious symbols passed in 2004, doctors and nurses have seen an increase in the number of women wearing the burka. With this veil it is impossible to verify the identity of the patient, her state of health and during surgery or birth, the situation becomes even more delicate.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

Agnès, a nurse in the delivery room at the Poissy hospital, tells of one case in which a woman wanted to give birth in her burka at any price. The medical staff had to negotiate with her so she would agree to give birth without it.

After giving birth, Agnès says that women wearing a burka are put in a single room. There's the problem of modesty, but in particular the husband's influence. Isabelle Lévy, author of La religion à l'hôpital (Religion on the hospital) says that most of the time it's the husband who opposes a cesarean, a procedure conducted by a man.

The result: the burka makes the relationship between the patient and doctor more tense. Paul Atlan is a gynecologist at the hospital in Clamart, the only surgery where patients come to talk of their religious dilemmas

Difficult to discuss sometimes in an emergency. (audio at link)

And in recent years, the hospital staff has been victims of violence by patients or their relatives for religious reasons.

Source: Europe1 (French)

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