Medical Ethics: A Journey Of Decency Gone Wrong?

lossofethicsOf late, we have been dwelling with how the civic bodies have failed to uplift the weaker sections of the society, by faulting them at their time of need, demolishing their faith in the state and the bodies working for their welfare, whether backward or not, weaker or not.

We all were stumbled when a man had to carry his dead wife on his shoulder, due to the not-functioning of the ambulance resent, or how a woman’s body was cut in half so that the transfer of body across the district is convenient. These are the times when we need the support of our civic bodies, this is the time their workings and principles are put to test, and unfortunately these are the times when they decide to fail people by large.

The lack of facilities and amenities provided by Community Health Centres (CHCs) is astounding. Maybe there isn’t proper allocation of budget, and places where the allocation is present, the results can never be seen.

However, all this incidents and many more makes me wonder about the quintessential question of medical ethics. It’s understood if the state isn’t supporting such health clinics with ferociousness, however, knowing that the shame is shared by the doctors and the staff of clinics, isn’t it a bit of their responsibility to thwart such downfall of reputation?

What stops the staff from doing some good and reinstating humanity, which lies outside their jurisdiction, to help a person in dire need? Does the Hippocratic Oath is just to save a person’s life, while finding it easy to compromise on the dignity? Is it easy to discard the thought process catering to the well-being of a patient as long as their lives are in question?

So, medical ethics is a system of moral principles that apply values and judgments to the practice of medicine. It comprises of a framework that recognizes four basic moral principles, which are to be judged and weighed against each other, with attention given to the scope of their application. As per the ethics, the doctors are supposed to provide a safe environment, both physically and mentally, not making a patient suffer in their presence.

The four principles are- respect for autonomy and the person, beneficence, justice, truthfulness and honesty. They don’t dictate the doctors on how to work, but enable them to resolve conflicts in a civil manner, not compromising on patients or their health.

Anything that compromises with the dignity and respect towards a fellow patient is definitely frowned upon by majority of the doctors. Yet, why do we find many cases wherein the doctors have blatantly refused to help someone for monetary reason, or have exploited a patient entrusted with them sexually, or haven’t extended the courtesy of being a human towards a dead body, or maybe insulting them personally and still getting away with it?

Are they too busy playing the Gods that they have forgotten to be humans?

Nowadays, my dear friend is going through some severe and painful dental rounds; getting a root canal done is undoubtedly the most painful thing I have heard. However, an incident happened wherein she was verbally disrespected and commented upon, just because of her constancy to visit the dentist, by the wife of the referred doctor, who happens to be of the same field. What medical ethics allows a doctor to make personal comments on a patient and get away with it?

The civic apathy showcased my civilians isn’t an uproar, we are as attuned to the idea as we are to a mutilated body of a woman after being exploited. We are apathetic and the world knows it. In a world full of inhumanity, ethics and manners are the only thing that would make us respectable in our own eyes. If we have to waver these things off, we are left with nothing but our ugliness and diminished essence of being a human.

With gross commercialization of medical education going unchecked, how far will the actual abusing of medical ethics, which always remains rampant, go?

Yugansha Malhotra

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The Viewspaper