Woke up one day this week to read about how the medical profession was put in a rather unfavorable light, in various parts of the globe.
In Los Angeles,USA, it was reported that the late Michael Jackson’s doctor, Dr Conrad Murray, who practises in Houston was going to be charged in a few days time for involuntary manslaughter. It was alleged that the doctor had administered the powerful anaesthetic drug, propafol, plus two other sedatives in a concerted attempt to make the pop star go to sleep. Propafol needs to be administered intravenously by an anaesthesiologist in a hospital setting and requires continuous monitoring as the drug can cause suppression of breathing, lowering of heart-rate and blood pressure. See my earlier posting “MJ’s Death Explained“ for details.
In Cambridge,UK, a foreign-trained doctor, on his first work assignment for the NHS after arriving in the UK the day before, administered an injection of diamorphine (an opioid used for pain relief) of twenty times the recommended dose to an elderly patient at his home for relief of kidney pain. Not surprisingly, the patient stopped breathing soon after the doctor had left. At the coroner’s enquiry, it was discovered that the doctor, originally from Germany, had failed his English test earlier and had never given the drug before. It was also not possible to extradite the doctor from Germany to face charges, where latest reports say he is still practising.
Meanwhile, in Sydney,Australia, a neurosurgeon has been charged over the cocaine-related deaths, in November 2009, of two young women who had visited his apartment. Post-mortem results showed both women had died of cocaine toxicity. Having been suspended by the New South Wales Medical Board, he now remains in custody pending trial. Some unanswered questions remain, like having been a known cocaine abuser since 2004, why was he still allowed to practise by the Medical Board?
Having read these stories, I just wonder whether this is a trend of things to come, or whether the virtues of a noble profession are being eroded in the face of changing times? Perhaps, most tellingly, when I asked a student who had aspirations of being a doctor, why he had chosen the profession, his answer was,“ So that I can make a lot of money!”
Share this Post