BANGI - An Indonesian surgeon made a case for Islamic therapy to complement modern medicine at hospitals by showing rusty nails pulled out from the body of a female patient, supposedly a victim of sorcery.
Dr Sagiran Sukardi, who was speaking at a forum titled "Jinn (genies) and Sihr (sorcery) in Medicine", described how his own understanding of medical practice was challenged while treating the woman.
In the much-publicised case in Sumatra, more than 2,000 nails were removed from 25-year-old Supiyati
"As a surgeon, I could not believe the sickness was caused by Sihr or Jinn," he said during the forum at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
Dr Sagiran, of Universiti Muhammadiyyah Yogjakarta's medical faculty, said Supiyati's condition defied medical logic.
He showed participants of the forum - 75 per cent of whom were doctors and psychiatrists, and the rest academics and researchers - pictures and X-rays of Supiyati's infected wounds and the nails under her skin.
The patient was first brought to his emergency room in September 2012.
Dr Sagiran said in the first operation, he removed more than 70 nails from her legs and feet before treating her wounds.
"Surprisingly, a day after the operation I found more nails in the same areas again. At the time, I didn't think sorcery had anything to do with it," he said.
However, he said after consulting his colleagues and religious teachers, he decided to use complementary Islamic therapy to treat the patient.
Dr Sagiran said he started reciting verses from the Quran while dressing her wounds or whenever she was in pain, adding that this caused her to throw up.
"You cannot imagine it but there were even more nails along with hair in her vomit," he said.
Dr Sagiran said Supayati's first husband, who disappeared after she underwent treatment, is believed to be responsible for the sorcery.
He said the case illustrated the need for a holistic approach, including spiritual and religious treatment, at hospitals.
Forum moderator UKM Assoc Prof Dr Supyan Hussin said the organisers were not against modern medicine.
"But Islamic complementary therapy can be used to treat patients whose illnesses cannot be diagnosed," he said.
Dr Supyan said Islamic therapy had nothing to do with black magic or witchcraft which was against Islam.
He said the participants might, through their discussions in the forum which continues today, pass a resolution which would then be sent to the Health Ministry.