A 14-year old girl was brought in to the resuscitation bay in emergency depeartment yesterday night, with no sign of life. Cardiac monitoring showed asystole and CPR was commenced immediately. She was revived, but then went into VT and asystole. Another cycle of CPR was commenced, again, she was revived but the same sequence continues. The child was eventually pronounced dead after 90 minutes of resuscitation.
A heart-breaking news for the parents indeed, and for us as well. Should the child was brought earlier to the hospital, she might be saved. The cause of death was unknown, however from the history obtained from the parents – altered behaviour, blank stare, abnormal limbs movement, lethargy – likely cause is meningoencephalitis: an acute inflammation of brain parenchyma as well as the membranes surrounding the brain.
The mother was in denial, hardly accepting the bad news, as her child was previously healthy with no co-morbidity, a bright student and active in school. And her greatest regret is to believe that child was possessed by some spirit (jinn) as told by the ‘bomoh’ they visited few days back, at the initial onset of illness. As a result, child was kept at home despite being unwell for many days and was only brought to hospital once child was very ill, cyanosed (blue) and unresponsive.
It is disappointing indeed, to know how some people react to certain illnesses. It is common in our culture, to seek help from the ‘bomoh’ or ‘dukun’ rather than going to the clinic or hospital to get further treatment. I am not against that though, as long as the principle of healing technique is parallel to what our prophet had taught us. Everyone has the right to seek treatment alternative to what is being offered in hospital. However, what triggers my concern is, many people still have stigma on certain illnesses especially psychiatric illness as well as TB, epilepsy and leukaemia, just to name few. They rather be labeled as being possessed by the spirit or was sent some black magic than being labeled with such illnesses. It is not that I don’t believe in the world of unseen, the black magic and all, but can’t we be sensible enough to think when to seek medical attention in hospital? And why would we easily believe or choose to believe that other people sent us black magic out of envy and grudge? Are we that great to think that we are as noble as angels and others are as evil as demons?
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. [Hujurat: 6]
O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. [Hujurat: 12]
As for this unfortunate girl’s case, the death is preventable. I mean, death due to this illness is preventable if intervention is started earlier. But I didn’t mean that doctor’s efforts may overrule Allah’s Qadr upon her. Of course, our belief as a Muslim, if it has pre-ordained upon her to die on the same day at the same time, nothing can stop it from happening. Doctors are just mere human, and Allah is the Most Able and Powerful. But at least, if something was done earlier, perhaps we won’t have so much of regret if the child still fail to survive out of her illness.
Usamah ibn Shuraik narrated: “I came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and found him with his companions. They were calm and serene as if there were birds over their heads. I greeted them and sat down. Then some bedouins came from various places. They asked him: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Should we seek medical treatment for our illnesses?’ He replied: ‘Yes, you should seek medical treatment, because Allah, the Exalted, has let no disease exist without providing for its cure, except for one ailment, namely, old age’.” (Reported by Ahmad and the six sunan. Tirmidhi considers it a sound hadith.)
Anas ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Verily, Allah has not let any malady occur without providing its remedy. Therefore seek medical treatment for your illnesses.” (Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.)
Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “There is a cure for every disease. Whenever an illness is treated with its right remedy, it will, by Allah’s permission, be cured.” (Muslim)