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Sunday, July 31st 2005

It's a Crazy, Crazy, Crazy…


I start on Monday with a clinical skills/ethics class and then gross. I read through the first part of my syllabi for this ethics course and have become very enticed by ethics, which I have certainly not studied prior.

Consider the following quotes from the syllabi and the notes I’ve written in the margin.

  • “In return for their committment and service, health professionals receive certain benefits from society.” — Do we truly recieve such benefits because of our committment and service? I find it extremely hard to believe that physician’s are allowed the privilige of self-regulation as a reward for their committment to society.
  • “…not to have compassion is to treat the patient as an object, as simply a particular instance of a disease process. The patient is divested of the rich particulars of age, gender, race, values, occupation — of those particulars that define us as persons and give us identity.” — And so? There’s a case that completely divested interest makes a physician more objective and better in curing the patient. It seems incredibly new age to think that a physician must cure a patient’s spirit along with his or her body. If I had to make a choice between a skilled procedural clinician or one who treated me with compassion…uh…I’d take the skilled physician any day of the week.
  • “Conflicts of conscience sometimes emerge in healthcare because people regard as unethical some role obligation or official order that descends from a hierarchical structure of authority. In cases of refusal, the individual need not rebuke others or obstruct them from performing an act, but only say, ‘Not through me’.” — I’m confused by this. There will certainly be an ethical argument later in this course that there is no distinction between a sin of omission and one of comission. Where however is the line drawn? It is unethical to watch someone get mugged and not call for help but it’s okay, if I am opposed to it, to sit around and watch another doctor take out a comatose patient’s feeding tube as long as I don’t do it myself. That seems a little off base…

I’ll post Monday after my first day of class.