“Physician, Heal Thyself”: But Is That Possible?
My visitor, Jaine, in response to the last thread asking for contributions of topics, presented a topic that I have touched upon in various threads but I think is worthy of devoting one specifically to this issue here and now. Jaine wrote:
A topic of interest to me is whether doctors are capable of monitoring their own profession, in an ethical manner, in a punitive system? Only extremely ethical people are capable of remaining objective and honest in a system that punishes members for being honest about mistakes. It is ridiculous, in my opinion, for doctors to promote themselves as being capable of self-governing in an ethical manner in a punitive system, when doctors are subject to human nature, as well as suffering from such things as personality disorders, to the same degree as the rest of the population. The approach encourages setting the standard of care very low to protect even the least skilled doctors instead of demanding doctors develop and maintain a high skill level.
“Critics of the current system say it discourages medical staff from honestly admitting errors, for fear of lawsuits.” Link.
“In Sweden, when a patient suffers avoidable injury, whether through gross negligence, such as a botched surgery, or through a more understandable but avoidable mistake, such as a misdiagnosis or medication error, the patient—usually with help from the doctor's office—fills out a form requesting compensation.” Link.
If anyone has a subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine I’d appreciate being able to read the article offered at entitled “Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism”
The case of Dr. Michael Swango, who is suspected of murdering between 35-60 patients, provides an example that begs questions be asked around what the priority and mindset of the medical system is. Is it to protect doctors or protect patients?
“After Swango's arrest, Stewart told the New York Times, "(His) case shows that the medical establishment will blindly trust the word of a fellow doctor over the word of other witnesses and that the medical profession cannot adequately police itself." Link.
So the issue Jaine brings up is essentially what I summarized in the title of this posting: “Physician Heal Theyself”: But Is That Possible? “Physician Heal Thyself” is a biblical proverb meaning that people should take care of their own defects and not just correct the faults of others.: But do any of my visitors think that physicians have the strength of professionalism and ethics to do that on their own? ..Maurice.