THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Managing the dead bodies of the HIV infected

I attended a kursus pengurusan jenazah (management of dead bodies) a few years ago and during the Q&A session, one of the participants asked if it’s okay to refuse to bathe the body of an HIV infected person.

Personally, I thought he should have asked HOW to handle the dead body of an HIV infected person, learn how to do it. Instead he was asking about refusing! It is fardhu kifayah for God’s sake! The ustaz handling the session just told him that if we do not know how to handle the body, then let the hospital people do it. Reasonable enough answer I suppose...

I guess that’s reality. In general people only know HIV/AIDS as an infectious disease. They get scared just knowing that someone has HIV/AIDS. Even under the guidelines provided by Ministry of Health on the management of dead bodies of people with infectious diseases, the same general guidelines were given for all infectious diseases no matter how they spread. I suppose it’s easier for the Ministry to come up with one general guideline rather then coming up with different guidelines for different diseases!

Just to be sure myself, I asked my friend who’s a specialist in infectious diseases, if it is safe to manage the body of an HIV infected person just like any other bodies. I’ve been helping to bathe the dead bodies of quite a few Muslim ladies (non-HIV) and in all cases, I do wear gloves and the bodies are carefully handled. My friend confirmed it is safe.

Though I’ve never bathed the bodies of HIV infected persons before, I still need to be prepared. I have many HIV infected lady friends now especially those in kampongs where the general awareness on HIV/AIDS is very poor.

To me it’s simple. Treat everyone, dead or alive, how I want to be treated. When I die, I don’t want my body to be treated like dump, like the example I gave in one of my earlier postings! So, no matter whose dead body I need to help handle, I must treat them with due respect.


nyonyapenang said...

"Treat everyone, dead or alive, how I want to be treated."

I couldn't agree more, pi dani. you are one compassionate lady and more too.

Pi Bani said...

It's pi bani lah nyonya... not pi dani... Bani tu bapak gua punya nama... :-)

Anonymous said...

You are right. No matter what disease or what the person had done before he/she died. The dead must always be treated with respect.
There were some coroners who refused to handle the body of an infected patient. In a way it is understandable. They are uneasy and fear the unknown.

But with proper training and using of gloves and treating all the dead with the same protocal there should not be any problem.

Are the coroners trained to handle such cases ?


Pi Bani said...

Hi May!
Well, some are trained, some are not I suppose. But that's just the point, if they're not trained, they should learn, not avoid.

aiyah nonya said...

Yes, maybe the gov should sent them for courses. Make it complusory to renew their license. And hold more talks on HIVs to the masses. So the the public will be more aware of the disease and more understanding to the HIV patients and their family.

I know it is easier said than done. It is not easy to change the publics mind.

I really admire you. Keep up the good work.


Pi Bani said...

It's not easy to even get the public to attend talks on HIV/AIDS. That's why I'm resorting to blogging, telling it in a different way ie by sharing my own experience in dealing with PLWHAs.

I have however, given talks to 2 schools before. One was a girls school, and they set aside 2 hours during school hours for the talk. The girls listened.

The other talk was for a co-ed school. It was held for fourth formers during their first week in school for the year, with a few talks on various topics lined up for the day. Mine was the 2nd topic. By then, the students who were forced to attend, were not even attempting to listen. The boys were rowdy, and the girls didn't dare speak up. That was a tough one...

Apandi said...

That's another one up, I did learn to menguruskan jenazah, even have the powerpoint presentation on the procedures in my PDA but have yet to actually do it. Hmmm.

Pi Bani said...

Apandi, siap powerpoint presentation? Wah, impressive. I learnt the conventional way. But the best is still practical training, whenever there are deaths, help out with the pengurusan jenazah. It's still the best way to learn.

Apandi said...

Only impressive theoreticaly. The presentation was prepared by the Ustaz who taught us. You are right, hands on would have been more effective, then again in my area its left to jawatan kuasa masjid. Jawatan kuasa khairat just disburse the bantuan khairat.

FYI, the latest in this matter now (here in KL/PJ) is for family members to pay a fee to the hospital and take the remains back all done and ready to be buried, mandi, kapan, everything siap.

Still, having the knowledge and experience will be invaluable.