system is to blame - not doctors’
in Irish Medical News January 2004
Dr Altaf Naqvi, Consultant General Surgeon,
Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick
I am writing this letter after
watching Prime Time on Monday 15/12/03. Just imagine that 30 years ago,
God dispatched angels into our world to do a survey of what parents would
like their children to become in the future. I believe that many of them
would have liked their children to become respectable medical doctors.
Today, some parents advise their children not to become doctors and
tomorrow there will be very few who want to be doctors.
The reason is certainly not
difficult to find. Doctors were very much respected and liked by the
people. Doctors are human beings like others and do their work
professionally like others but the human body is a very fragile machine.
Human beings leak and bleed, purge and swell, fade and break, and steam
and freeze and die.
Why are doctors made
responsible in our society for everything? They are not 100 per cent
responsible for everything and get nothing good out of being dedicated and
sincere. Doctors of today get nothing but shame and blame – a blame
culture incorrectly imported into Irish society. Medical malpractice can
occur in a variety of ways but a doctor’s negligence is the common thread
in all of them. When a doctor or hospital deviates from the standard of
acceptable medical care and acts negligently or without due care, the
resulting injuries could be the basis for a medical malpractice negligence
claim. Of course causation must be proven, that is it must be shown that
the actions or failure to act on the part of the medical provider was the
actual cause of the harm.
Medical mistakes occur not
only in hospitals but in day surgery and out-patient clinics, retail
pharmacies, nursing homes, and home care. These high rates of medical
errors resulting in deaths, permanent disability, and suffering are
unacceptable in our medical system but it is important to remember that
the reason is the health system itself. There should be a crystal clear
system and guidelines in place so that error should not occur.
There is another angle to this
issue and that is that God does not exist any more in our minds, our
hearts, our souls or in our lives. So instead of accepting the misfortune
and forgiving, we blame doctors without having enough information because
there is no trust remaining between patients and their doctors. This
happens even though a sick patient knows that their sickness is not
because of a doctor but rather a doctor has been helping them to get
better. Yes, a doctor is the one who can make the sick better. Probably,
if we renew the Christian faith in our lives it may change the culture of
suing the doctor.