The year is 2018. It’s another day in the hospital. The biggest one in Australia. Thousands of patients and families, smarming around, darting from place to place, room to room. Nurses push trolleys as food jumps around. Walking through the hallways, Leila hears the sound of automated doors opening and hospital staff chattering.
She strides with confidence as her smile lights up her face. Although she loves her job, certain procedures she is told to perform are sensitive to her religious beliefs. Leila is notified by her colleges to visit her administrator. She was nervous as being called into the supervisor's office was a rare occurrence, this only meant two things - being fired or being promoted.
Her feet swept swiftly across the tiled floor. “Dr Loblay had to pull out of this sensitive operation due to heart conditions” Leila couldn’t help drawing a puzzled look. She had been asked to perform a gender reassignment surgery (a Phalloplasty). She wasn’t confident when performing any type of procedure which involved the genitals of another man, so a sex-change operation was asking a lot from her. She also didn’t want to disappoint her supervisor as she had worked hard all her life and made sacrifices to be here.
Muslim religion forbids any married woman to touch another mans genital area, and Leila’s strong connection with her faith meant that this operation was almost impossible. “I’m not sure if I can proceed with this sensitive operation sir” She told her boss that she didn't feel comfortable and that she would rather another surgeon do it, but her boss reminded her that it is her job and she must follow orders. Leila knew deep down that she was obligated to do this procedure, that it was her job.
But she also questioned whether or not this would make her less respected in her religion. Her faith was extremely important to her, it had kept her parents strong during their dangerous move, and the Muslim faith was just as important to them as it was to Leila. The clock ticked and Leila had less time to reminisce. Nurses ran in circles, trying to dress Leila in her equipment. Her supervisor entered the operating theatre full of only staff.
“Everyone ready? This is a long and difficult one guys.” She walked in. The patient was already there, and exchanges were made between her and the client. Not that she was listening, Leila was just running through protocol, her mind more focused on the judgement and scrutiny that she would receive from her parents and her religion. The operation lights turned on, the harsh and cold glare centered on the patient. The room went silent. The only noise present was the subtle sound of machines beeping and whirring.