Docs and the Hippocratic Oath

Posted: May 11, 2009 in Hippocratic Oath

A dear friend just lost his father this morning after a prolonged battle with cancer. Nothing unusual about it, you might say. People have cancer, some survive and some don’t. This friend’s father was fighting a losing battle with cancer, we all knew that.

But what would you say, if you knew that the friend’s father died because he was given the wrong medication? The doctor who prescribed the drug didn’t make a mistake, but clerk at the hospital’s pharmacy did. He handed over the wrong drug. The gentleman’s condition deteriorated so rapidly in less than fortnight that he passed away early this morning.

The family blamed the hospital and the hospital while accepting that they blundered believed the family was equally to blame. The family should have checked all the medication before giving it to the patient, is their take.

More shocking is the fact that the hospital refused to release the body until the patient’s distraught son returned the old certificate that stated the cause of death as “overdose’. They then issued a new certificate which gave the cause of death as ‘natural causes’ brought about by cancer. Only then was the family allowed to take away the body and perform the last rites. Worse, the doctor in question, who gave the original certificate, was castigated for “telling the truth.”

“I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone….I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan…” So much for the Hippocratic Oath!

My friend is justifiably bitter, but philosophical. He feels that whatever he does now, will not bring back his father, so why waste time. He just expected better from a profession that his father served in for nearly 50 years and made a name of himself as one of the finest in his field.

  1. Zubin Kabraji says:

    Upbringing – is very important in life. You can be the best in your profession – the most highly paid – but if your upbringing was wanting – then no amount of education or qualification will ever produce a good honest human being !

  2. asha says:

    I guess in India we tend to be pragmatic – nothing can bring the dead back. If this had happened in the US, the hospital would have been sued out of existence.

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