Two brothers of Sikh faith decided to go against one of their religious teachings and shaved their beards to help treat patients during the global pandemic.
Their decision has initiated conversations within the Sikh community on possible alternatives for other Sikhs practicing medicine.
Dr. Sanjeet Singh-Saluja is a physician who works in the ER at McGill University Health Center (MUHC). To ensure that they can properly wear medical masks that would protect them from the coronavirus, he and his brother – a fellow doctor- decided to shave their beards.
Known as Kesh, the Sikh do not shave their beards as they believe everything is the sacred work of god. Dr. Singh-Saluja said that he had to choose between honoring the Kesh or Seva, the notion of sacrificing for the all humans.
The doctor said that he always understood his work in the emergency room as his way of service to our species. He said that it was one of the biggest dilemmas he has ever faced, saying that it was the first time in his life where the principles of his religion seem to contradict each other.
In the end, he decided to shave his beard so that he can continue to fully operate as a doctor. Not only was it one the toughest decisions he had to make, Singh-Saluja said that he feels great sorrow afterwards for he feels he has lost a big part of his identitiy.
The decision of the Canadian brothers sparked conversations for all Sikhs around North America. In a situation where many hospitals do not have alternatives to face masks ready, Sikhs believe that many more may have face the conundrum that Singh-Saluja and his brother faced.
There are personal protective equipments in the form of respirators to accommodates for healthcare workers with facial hair. However, it is not common nor readily available especially in a pandemic situation like today.
Earlier this week, CNN reports how the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association told its members that they can seek legal and logistical support with the Sikh Coalition if they are facing a similar dilemma like the brothers did.
Regardless of the religious conflicts, we still want to thank the brothers for making a tough decision. What are your thoughts? Share them with us in the comments, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for more news like this one.
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