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Career Guidance Day

 in March 2004, at Galway Bay Hotel, Sponsored By Bristol-Myers Squibb


Career Guidance Day  in Galway Bay Hotel, Sponsored By Bristol-Myers Squibb



‘The system is to blame - not doctors’

 Published in Irish Medical News January 2004

From 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.



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