Sewer Worker Dies After Muslim Doctors Refuse To Treat His ‘Unclean’ Body


A Pakistani sewer worker died Thursday after doctors refused to treat him due to the fact he was “unclean.”

Irfan Masih, 30, went unconscious while cleaning a manhole in the city of Umerkot. He was taken to the hospital where he suffocated to death in front of doctors who refused to treat him because he was covered in sewer sludge.

“The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was ‘napaak (unclean),’” Irshad Masih, the sewer worker’s mother, told Pakistan’s Express Tribune.

Muslims across the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan, which requires them to abstain from eating, drinking and sex during daylight hours, but treating the worker does not appear to fall under these rules. Muslim medical professionals across the world frequently work with patients in all sorts of conditions during the holy month.

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Pervez Masih, the victim’s brother, told the Tribune that he had cleaned his brother’s body. The doctors then gave him an oxygen cylinder, but Pervez claimed it was empty. Irfan died before they could get another.

The Masih family and members of the local community engaged in a sit-in protest demonstration shortly after Irfan’s death. They stopped after Chandar Sham, a local official, said an inquiry into the death would be established.

“An inquiry team is being constituted to investigate the case. If the municipal officers or doctors are found to be involved … the government will take action,” he told Pakistani media.

Three other sanitation workers were also injured during the incident. The job is a dangerous one for Pakistanis, two others had already died cleaning the same manhole.

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