The Telescope

MUCH NEEDS TO BE DONE TO RESTORE OUR TRUST IN DOCTORS

If you have ever been put on anaesthesia, then you know you must take a leap of faith, that all will turn out well. When you are knocked out for an operation, you have no choice but to trust your doctor, completely.

Yet a disturbing revelation of unethical practices by a self-proclaimed gynaecologist has betrayed our trust in the medical profession. The incident, clearly edges on inappropriate conduct exposed rather disgusting and scandalous behaviour of one Mugo wa Wairimu, now in custody. His misconduct has in more ways than one threatened to put to question the ethical foundation of the profession.

The revelation that has got tongues wagging on the little discussed topic reveals a female patient, under anaesthetic, being sexually abused by the quack. Unethical behaviour exist in various sectors, driven by self interest often disguised under a facade of client concern. The prevalence of inappropriate actions in healthcare will drive additional margins in various downloadcritical sectors in the country.

Today, there are many parallels to the situation with some workers’ action increasingly questionable. It is also not lost to the government that doctors and teachers currently on strike, are airing their displeasure in their remunerations and working environment.

Though their industrial action is not unprecedented and the prevailing mood is an unjust war and an economic crisis, urgent action should be taken to amicably address this matter.Such occasions only highlight the root of our moral decay and our healthcare crisis based on an ingrained acceptance of unethical behaviour.

Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality” unfortunately when there is nothing to secure such incidences tend to happen — Albert Schweitzer

The recent exposé points towards transparency and quality reporting, shining light on some of these practices and should tone down the environment of opportunism.

It is also timely that a review is done and constant monitoring is carried out on health facilities operating illegally.

Relevant bodies should also keenly address threats to healthcare core values, especially those stemming from abuse of power. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty and ethics in leadership and governance of healthcare is equally crucial.

Bottom line: the trust a patient has in their doctor to have their best interest at heart must not be compromised. It is saddening, that the rot in the medical fraternity could be widespread. The government, through the Ministry of Health, has a daunting task of streamlining operations to stem out rogue practitioners out to taint the image of the medical profession.

Finally, a thin line cuts across personal and professional ethics and as Albert Schweitzer says, “Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality. Unfortunately when there is nothing to secure such incidences tend to happen”.

This article was published on the People Weekend on September 12-13,2015

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