Monday, July 16, 2012

Judges , doctors and double standards

Doctors are treated as respected professionals and held in high regard , because we expect them to take care of our health when we are ill.  We hold our judges in equally high regard , because we expect them to dispense justice impartially and fairly, whenever there are disputes between citizens . Judges, like doctors, are professionals who’ve studied a body of knowledge ; and who are then appointed to serve on the bench because they are expert at what they do, and have a good reputation.

However , what amazes me is the double standards we use when we consider the mistakes and errors made by judges and doctors . When  a doctor makes a mistake ,patients want to beat him up or sue hom. Participants in talk shows want these doctors to be hanged or locked up in jail !

Yes, it's true that there are bad doctors , and that these doctors do make mistakes because of negligence. However, it's equally true that there are judges who deliberately pass biased orders for personal financial gain. When these facts come to light , these judges are arrested , but what's remarkable is that no one hosts a talk show and bemoans the facts that our judiciary is corrupt – and there is no public clamor for bad judges to be locked up in jail.

If anything , the scope for doctors making mistakes is far more than for judges , because doctors deal with biological science ; medicine is imprecise ; and we cannot predict or control how an individual patient’s body will respond. Judges have a relatively simpler job to do , because they have to interpret guidelines , laws and statutes which are laid down by other people. We know that lots of decisions made by judges are routinely reversed on appeal – which just emphasizes the fact that even though judges are experts , they don't claim to be infallible ; and we accept this as an integral and healthy part of our judicial system’s checks and balances.

Why we can't use the same set of standards when we deal with doctors ? When doctors make mistakes, why aren’t we willing to be equally charitable and accept the fact that not all errors occur because doctors are negligent or careless ? Patient are not scared of doctors ; and it's easy for us to badmouth them, because they can't stand up for themselves. However, we are scared of saying anything derogatory about judges, because we may be hauled up for contempt of court !

When the actions of bad judges are highlighted in the press, remember that it's usually the good judges who get hurt the most, because each article is a slap on their profession. Their professional reputation takes a beating when fellow judges misbehave and good judges cringe the most when they read about these activities. It’s exactly the same for doctors . When the actions of bad doctors are sensationalized, it’s the thousands of good doctors ( who do good in their own way every day) who are hurt the most. It is not fair to tar everyone with the same brush !

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr,

    I agree with whatever you wrote and the answer for your question is simple. A doctor’s profession is closely connected to human life and its associated emotions. No other profession is connected with human emotion as much as that of doctors. Death and physical suffering are the greatest fear of any human being. Doctors are experts who can save life and alleviate physical suffering. Hence they are looked upon with lots of reverence and respect. People have unrealistic expectations on a doctor’s professional expertise and morality. This makes them to treat doctors as God when they benefit from their treatment and at the same time people are ready to criticise and ostracize doctors very easily when they make mistakes (two extremes of emotions! A doctor is either God or devil – not a human : ). I think all these are just because you (doctors) deal with human life and its suffering.

    Whenever I talk highly about a doctor the next question people ask is ‘does he do free service?’ : ) I have faced this question many a time. But no one cares whether a teacher, lawyer, judge or policemen does free service to the society. I really do not understand the psychology behind it. Is it because of the notion that doctors are extremely rich? I do not think so because an actor who gets enormous salary is looked upon as an idol too. People are even ready to sacrifice their dear life for their favourite actor. No one really cares what an actor does with his money and no one expects an actor to be charitable. Why does our society have double standard against doctors? Do you have any idea? : )What is your stand on doing free service? : )


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