Inculcate Life Struggles of Pioneers
Crisis of Medical Ethics
Since the inception of human civilisation mankind has staked everything to facilitate the development of medical science not only for freeing humanity from the hands of the hostile forces of nature but also for saving him from the suffering of diseases, pain and epidemics. Can we forget the aspiration of Hippocrates, Charak, Sushruta, Hahnemann, Vessaleus, Pasteur, Jenner, Alexander Fleming, Ronald Ross, Madam Curie, Banting, Robert Koch, Florence Nightingale and all great personalities? Did the pioneers ever imagine that their inheritors would simply earn money by capitalising upon everything they had acquired through arduous struggle? Many lives had been laid down, many drops of tear shed to build the huge monument of medical science, which we witness today. Many a death, unsuccessful efforts to achieve cure, have been the pillars of the successes that we witness today We cannot forget for a single moment that it is the disease emaciated, famine stricken starving millions who supply the financial support for those who have had the rare good fortune of getting admitted to the medical colleges.
There seems to be an attempt to curb free thought, to impose regimentation of thought and to generate blind loyalty to the concept that whatever is being taught and done is right and will achieve people’s health. Questions regarding the curriculum and the health policy of the Government is not only discouraged but often suppressed too. A fascist dispensation is reigning over the entire education sector and in the area of thought and culture. The process of dehumanising the human is in full swing. Do you not hear an echo of the Nazi period: of the attack on Prof. Nikolai, capitulation by the intellectuals of Germany and the German Chamber of Physicians? Do we not wake up to the clarion call by the ‘White Rose’ led by the young medical students Hans and Sofia Scholl who were hanged by the Nazis in 1943: “Strike where the crime is at its darkest!
Do not hide your cowardice behind false aristocracy…
The most important task now is fight against this dehumanising system
and each individual has a definite role in trying to destroy it…
` Each one is trying to convince himself that he is not responsible but none can deny it.
It is mine, yours and everyone’s crime.”
We do remember that it was this first spark ignited by the ‘White Rose’ that grew into the fire of resistance to fascism from within.
In our battle against the imperialist attack of Globalisation, Liberalisation, Privatisation, we have to realise the pains of Madam Marie Curie when she refused to patent radium. We have to stand with Fredrick Grant Banting in his fight against diabetes when he handed over the patent of insulin to the Canadian Government. We have to walk out with Florence Nightingale against social norms to palpate the people’s sufferings that urged her to create the science and art of Modern Nursing, analysing the importance of sanitary system on people’s health even up to the distant foreign land of India. We have to raise our hands to join the struggle of Dr. Norman Bethune against TB in Canada, against fascism in Spain and imperialist attack in China where he also pioneered blood transfusion and operation theatre in battlefield. We have to dream with Servateus when he was burnt and frozen alive for daring to oppose the subjective Galenian System of Anatomy, which had ruled over seven centuries. Can we afford to overlook the blood and sweat in the spaces between the words and the lines we study? Can we wash our responsibility just by paying money?
Doctors, nurses, students and all other health workers have to fulfill their due obligation to the society. When in his teens a student steps into the premises of a medical college, his mind is filled with dreams of saving the ailing humanity. But with days passing all his dreams are shattered when he comes to confront an atmosphere, which in the name of ‘reality’ hinders rather than advancing his noble spirit.
True, medical science meticulously deals with minutest details of human body and curative parts of diseases. But what has led mankind to enter into such technicalities? Is it simply curiosity? Is it just a feat of scholasticism? No, it is out of necessity to win against natural odds, and with the development of humanism, boundless love for his fellow brothers and sisters who have been nurturing and furthering his being, that man has been taking trouble in this direction. So if all those related at different strata of health care delivery system are not imbued with this lofty ideal that the medical profession is the noblest of all professions, simply expressing pious wishes or giving oneself to talk big will not do at all.
This sense of obligation born out of motherly feelings to treat a patient, being totally absent, has reduced the entire health system to a pasture ground of those to whom money only matters and nothing else. So much to our pain and regret we see doctors engaged in offering treatment of even minor ailments in nursing homes and so-called research centres because that brings money, while diseases of serious nature affecting the poor remain unattended as they cannot pay.