Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do No Harm

“First do no harm” a doctor is obliged to swear and live by this, though the Hippocratic Oath makes no evident mention of the prime responsibility. Ability and judgement for one are not mere skills, more often than we know it so happens that he or she gets stuck at crossroads, forced to make a choice between the two rather than using them together. Considering the case of abortion, how would you define ‘harm’? In instances such as the recent: A Medically Unnecessary Death making a choice between two lives definitely does not fit in here when you are pretty sure that one is at an extreme stake, especially when the life which is giving another life. It does not qualify as a murder, and no God will send the healer to hell for it. This case was a clear misconception of religion trumping medical duty. What were they trying to prove, who were they trying to save? Were they really trying to decide on the course or just waiting for a marvel to happen which would make both the mother and her baby better? We really do not know. On the other hand we cannot jump into conclusions without understanding the turn of events. If religion is claimed for the absence of a much needed action, it can never be a justified reason for the life lost.

Pregnancy is a biological process, as much as everything else. And irrespective of the views that we attach to it the fact is just this, procreation is natural. But things can go wrong, they will. For which we have science, to deal with all our problems. Something which the world has evolved with, the knowledge to set things right. The field of medicine gratefully has it but every good comes with bad, so does this . Therefore we have laws, rules and religion. Some follow it, some don’t. The worst is when it is adhered to as a dictum, when it is not meant to be. That is all what has happened here and it cost a life, which is a big deal. 

What if on the other hand if all doctors stood against feticide at the right time, the male female ratio here in our country would be a different and happy figure to remember. If there is anything that can be set right, changing the rulebooks is not fine enough. Legality vs illegality is not the issue, neither life vs death. It is about taking the best possible decision and giving enough care to a patient irrespective of where they come from, which country they live in, which religion anyone belongs. There is more to treatment than deciding it based on laws, textbooks, research, experience or mere a chance. And that makes it a difficult job, therefore the mistakes. Avoidable and regrettable.

Picture Courtesy

“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.”
-Sandra Chami Kassis-


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