Health Care Responds to the Needs of a Growing Muslim Population

February 16, 2006

Source: The Boston Globe

On February 16, 2006 The Boston Globe reported, "The Rev. Esther Bowen unfurls a Muslim prayer rug -- its brilliant teal a sharp contrast to the muted tones of the small hospital chapel -- that she says she hopes will bring comfort to Muslim patients and their families at Quincy Medical Center. The prayer rug, on which Muslims kneel to pray five times a day, and a nearby copy of the holy book, the Koran, are part of the nascent efforts Quincy and other hospitals south of Boston are making to accommodate the medical and pastoral needs of a small but growing body of Muslim patients... At Quincy, 119 patients identified themselves as Muslim upon admission to the emergency room in the second half of 2005, up from just four in the second half of 2004. Estimates of how many Muslims live in greater Boston range from 10,000 to 70,000. Hospitals and caregivers must get up to speed on requirements of observant patients, said Asif Razvi, chief of vascular surgery at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston and imam at a mosque in Wayland... Special services required by some Muslim patients, Razvi said, include dietary restrictions, assigning female doctors to female patients, and burial practices."