Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world, healthcare workers across the globe have been serving beyond their call of duty to help COVID-19 patients. In a recent incident, two Sikh doctor brothers in Canada shaved off their beards to be able to wear the medical-grade protective masks necessary to treat COVID-19 patients.
Sanjeet Singh-Saluja, associate chief at the department of emergency medicine, and his brother Ranjeet, a neurosurgeon at the McGill University Health Centre's (MUHC) Montreal General and Royal Victoria hospitals, were unable to wear the mandatory N-95 mask as it did not fully cover their beard. The duo then decided to shave their beard, to treat the patients.
Sikh doctor makes 'extremely difficult decision' to shave 'in this time of need'— Jasleen Singh (@Jasleen67771243) May 6, 2020
For Montreal physician Sanjeet Singh-Saluja, COVID-19 forced him into the difficult position of having to reconcile his medical oath with his religious values
Hats off to you sir 🙏❤️#ProudSikh pic.twitter.com/JViNfBr1oO
"As a Sikh man, his beard is an important part of his identity but it was impeding his ability to wear a mask. After much thought, he made the difficult decision to shave his beard off," MUHC said in a statement.
"We could choose not to work, but in a time when healthcare workers are falling sick, we would be adding stress to an already taxed system. We could decide to simply refuse to see COVID-19 patients until viable protection is available to us, but that goes against our oath as physicians and against the principles of SEVA," he said in a video posted on the MUHC website.
He said that he and his brother decided to shave the beard after consulting with religious advisers, family and friends. He added that the decision was made after "many weeks of soul searching and many sleepless nights."
"This is a very difficult decision for us and one we feel is necessary in this time of need. This is a decision that has left me with great sadness and I truly mourn the loss of something that has been a major part of my identity," he added.
As of Monday, May 11, Canada has reported 68,848 cases of COVID-19, of which 32,096 have recovered and 4,871 have died.Also Read: Corona Warrior: Clad In Burkha, This Muslim Woman Is Sanitizing Temples, Gurdwaras And Mosques In Delhi