Do you how the profession of medicine came into existence? Thousands of years ago when human civilization was at its budding age people attempted to help their fellow being suffering from illness or injury and thus the practice of medicine came into existence. The art of science and medicine developed over generations. Earlier doctoring the sick was a part time occupation. Later it became full time and people need to be trained in the this field .Thus medicine became a profession.

In ancient times on graduation the doctor takes a oath of honesty, purity etc, which stressed all ethical values. Since independence this act of oath taking was given up in most places. The training of medical students and the oath they took on graduation fully reflected on great ethical values that were instilled in all medical students and doctors. The medical profession was indoctrinated with the principle that the medical treatment is based on compassion towards all beings and it is not primarily meant for earning money or for fulfilling other desires.

In Vedic literature there exists a belief that medical practice always gave some benefit o the practitioner. The idea is described as follows:

Sometimes punya, sometimes friendship,

Somewhere money, somewhere else fame,

Often knowledge and experience.

Never is treatment without its fruit.

In ancient times if any physician violated the ethics-a rare occurrence-the local elders or the king took stringent action against the erring physician. The punishment would be severe as the physician is an educated person who should be fully aware of all his duties and responsibilities.

Are these values up held today? Apparently not, there has been an increase in the degradation of these ethical values. This has led to a mistrust of many of the doctors in the public minds. This is due to lack of emphasis on ethical values during training of doctors or absence of a watch dog institution.

What could be done?

The issues like doctor- patient relationship need to be discussed . The opinion of leaders in medical profession on issues like transplantation, cloning and other research should be placed before the public for their information and debate. The opportunity to achieve continuously the updated level of knowledge must be provided for doctors and there must be an insistence that a doctor must be constantly updating his or her knowledge and skills.

To expect the medical profession to be pure in a corrupted environment is unrealistic. But still it is profession that has to deal with the life and death of God’s wonderful creation “ we the humans”. Hence it has to raise itself to an acceptable level of ethics, so that the people will repose full confidence in the profession.

The faith our countrymen still have in medical profession is unbelievable. A good doctor is equated to God. There is a saying by the ancient physician Sushruta

The patient may doubt his motherand father ,his sons and relatives but bestows his full faith in his physician’s custody and never doubts his sincerity. Therefore it is the pbysician’s prime duty to look after the patient as his own child and with affection .”

Such a faith should not be frittered away by a careless attitude .The act of a few doctors has brought a bad name to others too who love their profession and have chosen it with the ultimate aim of saving the lives of the pepole in their death bed and uniting them with their loved ones. Thus imparting ethical values to medical students will create tremendous changes in the medical field.



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