A R Gatrad: cross cultural medical care in the UK
There seemed to be an excess of Asian children with complex congenital heart disease when I worked as a cardiology registrar in Manchester in the ’70s. I confirmed through research that most parents of these children were consanguineous Muslims. This generated a lot of interest because there was little literature on patients from South Asia at that time.
In the everyday lives of South Asians religion plays an important part in helping healing, from the use of, for example, the Tawiz (a black string tied around the neck or wrist) to visiting holy places to seek a cure. Understanding religious beliefs comes into its own when dealing with death.
I coauthored a book called Caring for Muslim Patients, with a foreword by the Prince of Wales, and Palliative Care for South Asians: Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, with a foreword by Sir Liam Donaldson. Planning, raising money, and building a mosque