Doctors should do what’s best


  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015

I REFER to the report “Don’t ask for antibiotics if not needed” (Sunday Star, May 31).

What a sad lot we Malaysians are when doctors’ actions are dictated by patients’ demands.

When Dr H. Krishna Kumar (Malaysian Medical Association president) gave the excuse that the patients will dismiss the “stupid” doctor’s advice and go to another clinic for antibiotics, does this justify the doctor prescribing it to placate the patients?

Question: Are you treating a patient or are you satisfying a customer? Are you doing what’s best for your patient or are you more keen in retaining your business?

Doctors are supposed to be the guardians of health. If doctors know the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics, it is very unethical to do so even when the patient insists.

Don’t doctors take an oath – the Hippocratic Oath? If I am not mistaken, it states: “With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgement and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

“Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone.”

The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath says: “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism.”

Antibiotics are not poisons but I think we all agree that over prescribing it is unhealthy and dangerous in the long run. I think the idea of the Hippocratic quote is that doctors are the pillars of the community tasked with taking the best care of their fellow men.

I think it’s time we Malaysians grow up. We are not in the school playground anymore and cannot use excuses to avoid our responsibility – especially professionals in their area of expertise.

Please do not blame the common man for “forcing” you to do something that is not ethical and is utterly dishonourable.

It doesn’t need to matter “that most of the time, private clinic patients had been partially treated by pharmacists and self medicating or had been to a government clinic.”

The moment a patient steps into a doctor’s office, the doctor should take on the responsibility to right any wrongs and do the best he can in the circumstances for their patient.

The medical profession is supposed to be a highly respected and honourable profession. It needs individuals who are very compassionate, patient and wise.

These traits are not possessed by many people and only those who are passionate about their profession as a doctor can overcome his defaults.

I suggest that doctors who give excuses for their lapse in ethics rethink their commitment to their honourable profession.

DISAPPOINTED “PATIENT”

Subang Jaya


   

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