Medical examination must be independent and professional
There has been some controversy as to whether PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was made to strip naked and had his private parts examined and measured. It was surprising that Hospital Kuala Lumpur director Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain came out to deny that Anwar was made to strip naked for the examination. How can physical examination be done without adequate exposure?
Any doctor will agree that adequate exposure is essential for a proper medical examination.This is a basic lesson for all medical students. In cases of a rape or sodomy, examination of the private parts is imperative and that can only be done if those parts are fully exposed to the examining doctor.
However Dr Zaininah rightly pointed out that the doctors who examined Anwar had clearly explained the procedure and obtained his prior consent before being subjected to the examination. This is definitely in keeping with accepted medical practice. Moreover the examination has to be done in a professional manner and adhering fully to proper clinical procedure. If these are strictly adhered to, it would be perfectly acceptable and will not be considered violating the patient’s decency, modesty or dignity.
A patient cannot be compelled to be examined if he refuses to do so. In the case of Anwar genital examination is a must and there is no way that can be done if he does not agree to undress himself adequately in the privacy of the qualified medical examiner. External or superficial examination of a person involved in sodomy or rape would not be inadequate, unacceptable and would be just a waste of time and resources.
Therefore it would not be right to say that Anwar was not stripped naked for the examination. It has to be done but with his full consent. The question here is not whether Anwar was stripped naked to be examinesd but whether the examination was indicated at that particular time in the first place. What puzzles one is the way it was carried out. Why was the need to rush in for an “emergency” medical examination at night on a person suspected of sodomy that is believed to have taken place more than 2 weeks before?
Medical examination of those involved in rape and sodomy are part of routine police investigations but it should be done professionally and fairly regardless of social status or political ideology. There should be no interference and influence from outside parties. It would be morally wrong to use medical examinations and procedures for desired political motives.