The positive side of the medical profession is that it provides for health, healing and succour. A doctor’s vast array of knowledge and expertise garnered over the years could save the lives of many. But for the services of a medic, a patient might not come out of an illness.
A cardiac surgeon could carry out an immediate bypass adding years to a patient’s life. A physician at emergency could revive a traumatised or debilitated person by maintaining his breath, bleeding and consciousness. Like a Savitri, a specialist could salvage you from the clutches of a Yamdut (Death Angel).
Yet at the same time, one could delay the recovery for some selfish monetary gains. One could complicate the case, add unnecessary investigations and medication despite a clear-cut opinion, to fatten the hospital bill. One could engage in illicit practices like organ trafficking or recommend unnecessary procedures or surgeries to bolster one’s bank account. The culture of honest and systematic diagnosis and appropriate treatment gets overshadowed by a desire to generate profits.
The fact of the matter is that the patient hardly knows a thing about the subject, and one can easily take him for a ride. But do the corrupt practices advance one’s progress or staying scrupulous brings about an equal amount of fame and money. Can’t one create the same wealth through legitimate means while maintaining one’s peace of mind? Does a gynaecologist have to resort to MTP’s (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) to make a fast buck? Is delivering babies not as profitable as killing them in the womb. Or a dentist performs a root canal where restoration would suffice?
It threatens the ethics of a profession when such malpractices become commonplace. The pressure from the corporates for a stipulated business target and the incentive coming from it are the spoilsports. Forgetting the Hippocratic oath, one succumbs to the corporate demands and starts treating humans as profit-making objects to enrich one’s kitty.
Often the plea given is if I won’t do it then someone else will. But the larger question is, why to execute it against one’s conscience. However, it’s futile to moot such suggestions in a professional circle. The moment one comes up with such ideological or philosophical talk, one is straight away told to be practical and live with the times.
There is nothing against industry and making grand bucks through one’s professional expertise. But one should rely on one’s capability to fetch work with no weight on conscience. Furnishing genuine options creates a bond of trust with the patient and yields more referrals. Like Jonas Salk, developer of one of the first successful polio vaccine said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”
Whatever the allurement, one is reminded every time one pushes oneself beyond the right and the virtuous. One’s integrity is the corrective mechanism inside, but as humans, one can learn to override it. Like a drunkard who vows not to booze again after having his drink, one can procrastinate on listening and abiding by morality. Ultimately, what route to take is one’s calling ─ the road of the conscience or the path of deceit.
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