Saturday, 27 May 2017

The challenge of Ethics for Doctors

Finding a Job as a Doctor 

Qualifying for a Doctor’s degree is a hard and long journey every doctor would be hard pressed to deny this. Specialising in a specific area like ENT, Gynecologist, Urologist etc. etc. is even harder. Finding a job in today’s cut throat competitive market is so tough that finding a job is itself a “Big Job!” Once all these challenges are successfully met comes the next BIG challenge “Sustaining the Job.”

Challenges in medical profession 

No Job is easy and all professions come with their set of unique challenges. Take for instance a bus driver. The driver has a huge responsibility on his/her shoulder to ensure safely transporting passengers to their destiny.  Same with an airline Pilot. The teacher is responsible for educating and grooming a future generation. The profession of medicine is no exception only that compared with most professions it has a longer list of challenges. The diagnose and prescription of correct medicine, the precision care taken in a surgery which does not admit of any negligence and the list goes on. The object of this blog is to consider the ethics involved in dealing with patients.

How to deal with patients from diverse backgrounds

Ethics is a set of moral principles. Whilst dealing with patients from diverse backgrounds, The Doctor on duty is under obligation to perform his professional services that conform to the highest moral principles. Practicing medicine is not limited to diagnosing and curing the patient. It’s also a great deal to do with moral support. Patients who report physical complications need affection and kindness. Let humans alone, even animals in pain demand moral support. The anecdote of Androcles and the lion is a moral lesson of “Do good have good” that has trickled down to us from ages and ingrained in human psyche.

Moral Duty of Doctor 

The legend of Florence of Nightingale is a testimony of human compassion and benevolence that lives on to this day. So from this we can safely conclude that the first moral duty of a doctor is to show unconditional compassion and kindness to patients. Love and kindness often proves more effective than medicines.

Challenges faced in patient care

While showing compassion and kindness is a flat rate gesture and, as I see it, does not entail any complications, there are cases which demand more than compassion and smile. These cases range from dealing with patients from different social /religious background wounded with psychological scars that merit extreme care in handling their situation.
Let me draw a case scenario. A house wife is shifted to hospital with wounds inflicted by an abusive husband. The husband is hiding and children are emotionally petrified at home. The wife is in physical and psychological agony.
In this sad and gripping scenario, the doctor has to provide for her physical and mental wounds. Should the doctor call the police? Should the doctor provide her personal counselling or first take her consent or seek help from someone whom he /she deems more competent? These and other questions need to be taken very seriously.
This is just one scenario with the intent to give an idea of how cases get complicated on account of social circumstances.
One problem a doctor can confront is dealing with a patient with different religious beliefs. The doctors and patients beliefs may be repugnant to each other. But the doctor has to demonstrate highest ultruism dealing with such cases in which patients social /religious beliefs are in conflict with that of the service provider.

Doctors ethical treatment 

The list of these challenging cases is endless and there are no easy solutions. But they are not impossible either. Here at BeMRCOG, the mentor Dr. Asma Naqi over the years has taken pain and trouble to master the art of providing patients treatment in ethical frame work.  She has a burning passion to help people in need and that helps to explain why she understands how to best handle patients ethically. To learn more please log on to: