Thursday, December 08, 2005

Issues in Medical Ethics

Urban medical practice
The doctor, fashionably attired,
With a long string of alphabets trailing his name,
Emerges from a fancy, air-conditioned limousine,
Driven by a liveried chauffeur.
He sees ‘cases only by appointment’,
In his air-conditioned consultation room,
But, despite the appointment, has little time to spare.
Fancily designed, attractive waiting room,
With television, video- recorder and glossy journals,
And, perhaps, toys for his jaded paediatric clients,
Is presided over by young, beautiful secretary,
Who prefers talking to her computer or the phone.
She collects sizeable fees before patients can enter the sanctum sanctorum,
And instils awe and fear in the already demoralised patient.
Nagged by outrageous competition,
The entry of young whipper snappers into his field,
And, to make matter worse,
The clutches of the Consumer Protection Act,
The doctor routinely lists a score or more of tests,
And prescribes an equal number of pills, potions and pokes,
Thus playing the game of safety - which
incidentally increases his revenue.
Listening desultorily to the patient,
Whilst he dreams of his club, his wife and other attractions,
Prods here, pushes there and lends an ear to the lub-dub
Ere he agrees, with ill-concealed glee,
To accede to the humble request for an
unmerited sick leave certificate - for an
extra cost, of course.
Finally, with a belch that's poorly suppressed,
He dismisses the patient with an airy wave and awaits the next.
Strange thought though it may seem, his patients
admire and adore him,
For he acquiesces to their demands,
And 'cures' rather than prevents.
And the richer he gets,
And the more opulent his materialism,
The greater the throng awaiting him each evening!
Is this really what the public desire?

P Thirumalaikollundusubramaniam, Gizan, Saudi Arabia,
A Uma, Madurai Medical College, Madurai 625 020

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