Word Beat “A Doctor’s Ethics”

Sometimes, regardless of a doctor’s skill and ability to diagnose, a patient might feel like getting a second opinion from another doctor just to be reassured about the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment. It is one of the patient’s rights; a subject that is taught in all medical schools in USA and openly practiced by all patients.

Whenever a patient expresses that desire, the doctor respects it and even helps by providing other doctors’ names, even though they work in the same field and specialization.

A doctor’s respect of a patient’s desire comes under psychological treatment. When a second doctor agrees with the opinion of the assigned doctor, the patient becomes more confident and trusting of the diagnosis and treatment accuracy. The psychological factor has a great impact on the body’s immunity and healing ability. A lot of studies proved the importance of the psychological factor in treatment of physical illnesses.

While most Western doctors do not see a problem with that request but rather consider it as one of the patient’s rights and a part of treatment, you may find a lot of doctors in Arab countries who do not see it as the patient’s right and might feel insulted or even hurt if a patient hints that they feel like seeing another doctor, or when the doctor finds out that the patient has already seen another doctor, which creates conflict and affects the patient’s feelings negatively. A lot of my colleagues and patients confirmed the spread of this phenomenon in our society and I have even seen it personally.

A lot of times, medical ethics require selflessness and favoring the need and comfort of a patient over anything else. A doctor’s real success is a patient’s recovery, even if it is achieved by another colleague.

When a doctor believes that his success lies in appropriating the patient’s treatment, he denies the patient’s right to consult another doctor and becomes an obstacle in the way of achieving the best chances for treatment and speedy healing. This results in losing trust between the doctor and the patient for not letting go of personal interests, which are financial and incorporeal benefits.

God created medicine and illness. He created treatment methods and decided with His wisdom to subject certain people to learn and use these methods. What an honor doctors are given, being the mediators between God and men, when they don’t have any powers other than getting the chance to learn and use the wisdom of God…

When a doctor senses these meanings, all he can do is realizing God’s merit… And to honor that merit a doctor has to steer away from personal interests to become the path for God’s favor to pass through to men.

Okaz Newspaper – Sunday 30 Muharram 1417 AH falling on 16 June 1996 AD