14 June 2005

Dark Side of Medicine

Would you still consult your doctor if you knew he was an alcoholic or suffering from drug abuse? Would you undergo any surgery if you knew that the surgical instruments that will be used had been previously washed in hydraulic elevator oil?"
The British Medical Association has called for action over alcohol and drug abuse among medics after a BBC survey showed the problem was widespread.

BBC One's Real Story found over the last 10 years 750 hospital staff in England had been disciplined over alcohol and drug-related incidents.

The BMA estimates 1 in 15 doctors could be abusing drugs and alcohol.

BMA Ethics Committee chairman Michael Wilks said the profession was in denial and needed help to tackle the problem.

[BBC News, June 13 2005]

Expectedly, the British Medical Association (BMA) has answered the accusation by saying that "the scale of the problem is no worse than for the general population." But the public has already been alarmed about this worrisome development.

If you ask me, I think I would propose additional surveys to evaluate the prevalence doctors who are heavy smokers and who are either overweight or obese. For me, the practice of Medicine is like leadership by example. If we ask patients to stop smoking or to avoid being obese, but we ourselves are doing otherwise, I think there is an obvious problem there. How can we even be convincing when we preach something we don't even do ourselves?

About the hydraulic elevator oil....
About 3,800 patients at two hospitals run by Duke University Health System were operated on last year with instruments that were washed in hydraulic fluid instead of detergent, hospital regulators said.

Duke Health Raleigh and Durham Regional hospitals put patients in "immediate jeopardy" in November and December by not detecting the problem, despite complaints from medical staff about slick tools, according to a report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

[CBS News, June 13 2005]

The Philippines has cases of "verbally abusive doctors," Britain has its "alcoholic doctors," and the US has its "hydraulic-elevator-oil-drenched-surgical-instruments." I'm sure there are plenty more "dark-side-of-medicine stories" out there, whatever part of the globe you're in, right now.

For patients, I suggest extra care, and be more meticulous in choosing your health care provider. For my fellow doctors, I suggest practicing what we preach so our patients will feel safer and trust us even better.

9 reactions:

arevalos said...

it's really bad when medical practitioners who have access to cntrolled drugs use their access to just self-destruct...

and no... i'd be hardpressed to trust someone who didn't have the self-control to resist from abusive/dependent behavior...

Jdavies said...

"Medic!" private miller calls... we got a man down... The medic rushes to the wounded and with his vodka on hand and ready spills it all over the wounded soldier's wounds...

Not bad really. It's not a conflict of interest ;-) hehehe

Toni said...

It's so hard to find a good doctor these days, Dr. E!!!

Jing said...

Freaks me out this entry.
I used to have this doctor(a) before na matanda. The way palang she moves around her clinic was irritating kasi sobrang bagal niya whihc can probably be explained dahil sa weight niya na tila she was suffering from diabetis na di na halos makalakad ng maayos. Worst part, she diagnosed me as having leukemia when all i had was a low blood pressure(& RBC countparang iron deficient baga) when i had a second opinion.

I have a doctor here in germany na di pa rin ako comfortable, but he seems ok naman and friendly, but we´ll see.

have a nice weekend doc.

Grace said...

it's doctors like them who give us doctors a bad name. tsk tsk

Jules said...

dr emer, it's scary because it's giving the profession, just like dr. greenleaf has said, a bad name. These things make us look like Dr. Jekyll....and Mr. Hyde.

Robert said...

But more importantly, would you visit a doctor if you knew that he was being corted constantly by pharmaceutical sales people and paid handsomely to perscribe drugs to you? Would you consider you doctors nutritional advice knowing that throughout his education, he was indoctrinated into a bias against using suplements such as vitamins or other natural remidies to promote health?

Robert said...

Think I'm crazy? Here's an example.

Dr. Emer said...

crazylover: That's not the only problem. We are but humans like anyone else. We commit mistakes and we err. We hope we realize it sooner, and we pray we would be understood.

jardine: That's amusing and painful at the same time, my friend.

toni: True. So true. We try to be the best we can be at all times.

jing: Hello Jing. Like what I said, we hope we can correct whatever mistakes we do.

dr. greenleaf: Not every one is a bad apple. 'Great to see you here.

juls: Yo! Comment allez-vous? You're right, but I don't think you're one of them.

bob: Hello there. No, I don't think you're crazy. I believe you. You just gave an idea for a future post. You see, not everyone of us has been "indoctrinated into a bias against using supplements such as vitamins or other natural remedies." Thanks for dropping by.