Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Doctors and Research

Two articles caught my eye this week- neither really has to do with Israel- which is what this blog was originally about- but they are fairly interesting, and have a lot to do with science and medicine.

So, if you are interested- here they are from Aish.com- Is Stem Cell Research Ethical? and Doctors: A Second Opinion.

The first article is on research, something I'm involved in right now, and I thought it was quite thorough, albeit from more of a lay perspective.

The second article is something that's been quoted to me many times, and is why I originally wanted to go into medicine. Doctors take a hard rap for people who don't have enough compassion in them, who get too haughty and ignore the true feelings of their patients, who see them as just statistics. I wanted to change all that- to become a doctor who cared for their patients' needs, and yet was still able to help them.

This is a hard path to follow. Med school teaches a person to be objective, to not have other factors clouding their judgement. This in turn becomes a lack of compassion, of basic kindness. Some of the best diagnosticians have the worst bedside manner. Sometimes a doctor has both, but it is rare. Does that make them a bad doctor? No. But it does make for bad doctor/patient relationships.

I have found that those doctors that are religious in any way, are more likely to have a sense of kindness and compassion- but that is not always true as well. For some doctors, simply having a sense of ethics and morals allows them to be excellent doctors and kind people as well.

I was once treated by a doctor, a head of a department with students crowded around him, who made me feel like a piece of meat, rather than a human being. I felt trapped, unable to protest, and when I did- the response from one of the 'groupies' was, "But he's the head of ______!"

Good doctor- possibly. Bad patient connection- most definitely. I still have nightmares about dealing with him.

Yet, some of the kindest people I know are doctors. They have compassion, care, concern, and all other things. They influenced me to go into research (albeit not medicine, but something akin) and taught me how a person could act. After all, a doctor has power in his hands (invested by G-d, but still in a human's hands). How he uses it is an expression of his character traits.

As the prayer of the Rambam- Maimonides, states:

"Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. "

No comments: