Sunday, November 01, 2009

Has the medical profession sold itself out ?

I sometimes despair when I look at the sad state in which the medical profession finds itself today.

Physicians used to be highly respected and the medical profession was held in high regard. The tragedy is that doctors seem to have sold themselves for a pittance . This is why we are no longer considered to be patient advocates . Businessmen treat us as skilled knowledge workers who can be paid a salary to take care of patients in their corporate hospitals . Managed care bureaucrats lay down the rules as to what treatment is allowed and what is not, and we have to toe the line. Government officials have a low opinion of doctors, because they feel they are willing to compromise their standards in order to curry favours to get a promotion. Pharmaceutical representatives bad-mouth doctors in private, because they know it's so easy to manipulate them for a few freebies and trinkets. The public feels that we have become too commercial in our pursuit of profits, as a result of which doctors have become soft targets for angry patients who beat up doctors and burn down hospitals.

This is why social activists and NGOs feel free to criticise all doctors. They routinely get away with this, because they have usurped the moral high ground which has been conceded to them by doctors. Even though it's doctors who work hard daily in the trenches, taking care of their patients who come to them seeking solace in their time of distress , they are easily tarred as being mercenary and money-hungry by every " social worker " who wants to do so. A very good example of this is the PNDT Act, which treats every doctor with a sonography machine as a potential criminal, who is out to abort female fetuses for the right financial consideration !

Concepts like the loyalty of the doctor to the patient seem to be archaic. The doctor patient relationship has morphed from being a covenant to a contract.

Even doctors themselves no longer respect their own leaders. Many do not feel that the physician community can regulate itself or uphold its high ethical standards . In fact, the word ethics itself seems to have become archaic for most doctors.

Why have thing come to such a sad pass ? Where has the medical profession gone wrong ? Are we so busy taking care of our patients in our clinics that we have lost sight of the big picture ? Isn't it sad that few doctors want their children to become doctors, because it's not considered to be a respected or respectable profession any more ? Who will take care of us when we fall ill and need the healing ministrations of a capable doctor ? If sociaty cannot trust the medical profession, how can we trust our personal doctor to look after us when we become sick ?

1 comment:

  1. nice reflexions... keep the mystique of medicine alive...


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