Medical Implications of Fasting for Religion

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Fasting and Medication Administrationpage 1

Fasting and Medication Administration
NURS 460
Amy Fresquez
March 2, 2010

Fasting and Medication Administrationpage 2

We all know the procedure for when a patient comes in complaining about chest pain, chest pressure, or chest tightness. First oxygen, EKG, IV site, Aspirin administration, vital signs, Nitrogen administration, blood work, chest x-ray, ect… and all within 15 minutes. Now take the same scenerio and change the patient to a person who is in a religious fast and refuses to take anything by mouth. Aspirin is big on the medication list for drugs that help decrease damage caused by acute myocardial infarctions. What do you do?

I had the exact same scenerio happen. I was working in a clinic when a Muslim woman came in complaining of chest pain. Unfortunately, this episode occurred during the Muslim fasting called Ramadan. “Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, adult Muslims are required to refrain from taking any food, beverages, or oral drugs (Aadil, Houti, Moussamih).” So, this young female refused to take the aspirin that was highly needed.

I was not culturally competant with all the rules and regulations imposed by Ramadan, so the care for the patient suffered. I found myself wondering why she would risk something so big on four tiny, baby aspirins. Especially since she came in with a young child in a car seat, and both their futures were on the line. In taking a deeper look into fasting and medication administration during Ramadan, I found some interesting facts.

The first fact that I discovered was that it is not a total fast. “Fasting starts everyday in Ramadan at the break of dawn, which is also the start of the Salatul Fajr time, and ends at sunset or with the call of Salatul Maghrib, (Zahid)”.

It is believed that fasting serves many purposes. “While they are hungry and thirsty, Muslims are reminded of the suffering of the poor....
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