Society and the incorruptible physician by Prof.Fadipe

Negotiating society often defies the idealistic logicalisms of medical training. And I have realised that society is unable to afford the incorruptible physician.

Curing the sick requires no more than a well grounded training, but to please and engage society requires greater leaps and often over uncharted ruggedness.

The historical chronicle of medical  practice over time  reveals how society, though constantly clamouring for nobility within its medical corps, constantly shoots itself in the foot and exports, sometimes wholesale, the inanities within its own ranks into the fabric of the medical fraternity with consequences, which it turns around to criticise.

Often, compromises of virtues have simple beginnings. But once the innocence of virginity is lost, what can follow is no longer predictable: restrained use of the new avenue or licentious indulgence in the new possibilities that the innocence of the newly minted doctor is first put to strain when he is besieged time and again by members of society, high or low, to write sickness certificates for anything other than sickness.

Perhaps all they want is a chill, or escape from court and law schedules, as well as an extended recovery from  a tiring holiday. And the only thing to do is apply pressure on the doctor, until then, an innocent  hatchling who has been trained to exercise this immense declarative power only for the right reason.

He is now torn between a right training and a wrong ‘re-training’ by the hypocritic world he faces. He is soon taught how to place  a spin on truth; learning to refrain from calling a spade a spade merely to suit whims.

They come requesting that he couch their illnesses in anything other than what they really are ; magnify to enhance pending claims or minify to qualify for jobs.

To refuse to oblige is to court unpopularity and sometimes where it may hurt. The naive healer  is not infrequently persuaded to doctor the bills,  falsifying the figures  for what is effectively an insurance fraud. The insurance company themselves are sometimes hand in gloves with acolyte doctors they have managed to suck into their fold, retraining them but only in their own image

They  abandon ethics finagling diagnosis and treatment protocols aimed only at  maximizing corporate profits for insurance moguls. Then the shameless sick who enjoyed the best of a doctor’s care only to avoid paying the bills, forces the doctor to recast himself and to harden his approach to care or even adulterate it.

Society often drags doctors into its day to day battle arenas: running to the doctor to be excused reporting to duty just to avoid a boss or colleague or an assignment.

Sometimes such requests come from heavyweights, heavy enough to intimidate the average doctor out of his innocence.

The transformation of the medical corps into a criminal enterprise gets more treacherous over time and with society’s propensity for the ludicrous. Doctors are being seduced by society to become accomplices to illegal organ harvesting, organ theft and organ sales.

The story has been told of war prisoners in the Kosovo Serbian conflict stripped of organs using pressure groups to  persuade doctors to take organs from  captives for different purposes.

Similar stories surround death row felons in China where society persuades its doctors to tear a path into the bodies of these felons to yank out precious organs.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, dead Israeli prisoners were reported to be stripped of corneas, heart valves, skins and bones in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by a peculiar collusion between the society and its criminalised medical corps, against every professional protocol these doctors received during their medical training.

Governments and otherwise reputable organisations can sometimes seek, in their zealotry, to induce unwholesome practices  in hapless doctors within their reach.

A doctor is trained to save life, not take it. But somewhere along the line, segments of society ‘retrain’ him to take life either by inflicting such last act without which death would not have occured (euthanasia) or assisting the victim in inflicting that last act himself (assisted suicide).

All through the day,  justices  sit on their high benches criminalising abortions while bishops shout themselves hoarse immoralising it; and then at night, a whisper comes through from same judge or bishop begging the doctor to spare them the embarrassment of their lone daughter found to be pregnant just before her fifth form exam in high school.

In whose image does he mould: the judge on the bench, the bishop on the pulpit or the whispering hypocrites creeping in the cover of night to make abortionist of him or  the parliamentarian who is just as duplicitous?

How many of these heavyweights can a conscientious doctor turn down before his life becomes miserable.  How incorruptible can he remain!

Society has almost succeeded in retraining a whole new school of doctors committed to expedient duplicities when it suits. When a set of lawyers smelt fortune taking a vaccine manufacturing company to court, they seduced an unsuspecting British surgeon to convert to fraud.

In the world of elite sports, doctors are daily besieged by society surrogates to try illegal means of boosting performances to merit undeserved trophies.

How many doctors, faced with the corrupting onslaught from power magnates, heavy handed employers, rich brazen athletes, military dictatorships or sledge-hammer politicians can say no to corruptly extending a sick certificate by a day or a week, spinning health reports on a prime minister/presidents, obliging special and dangerous prescriptions, or facilitating governments in what is essentially murder plots?

The challenge is if society can stop frowning at the physician who refuses to play ball, anytime anywhere on that pitch or frowns at him only cos he is not playing our part of the pitch.

•Fadipe is a former professor of clinical surgery in the West Indies. He wrote in via fadipeb@cwd.dom





Are the people ready for A REVOLUTION?

These are very big and perhaps fundamental questions that have been on the minds of many well informed Nigerians.If you ask many nigerians,you will hear different and varying and probably divergent answers and views.I too have been doing mine careful deep research and was about to give answer to this questions.

If you remember,on 27th of December 2011,on my facebook wall,i promised my friends and readers that i will publish 2 facebook notes immediately one before the end of the year and the other one immediately we entered the new year 2012.In fact,i wanted to publish the second note within the first 3 days of the new year.I published the first one and wanted to give readers enough time to digest it and continue in the merriment of the new year before releasing the second one.True i had saved these notes in my drafts and was putting finishing touches on the second.The notes were borne out of careful painstaking research.True to my promise,i released the first one – The Middle East Crisis 1: Its Origin – The Arab Spring Crisis on the 30th of December.The note talked about the start of the Arab spring Revolution and the matyrdoom of Mohammed Bouazizi.

I was about completing the second one with this topic Is Revolution Possible In Nigeria (even though i have not fully decided on the final topic and heading and also said so in my post of 27th december 2011). Suddenly on Jan 1 2012,the clueless government of Goodluck Jonathan caught all nigerians by surprise. Announced the removal of fuel subsidy and immediate deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector and the immediate increase of fuel prices to a maximum of 141 naira per liter (despite the fact that debate was on going on the fuel subsidy removal and neither the national assembly nor the senate had endorsed govt’s plan and the Federal Government had promised nigerians that it would only deregulate the petroleum sector on or after April 2012).An illegal low blow you would say.What an unholy new years package for nigeians.Many people had bought fuel earlier that morning on their way to the New Year’s Service at the rate of 65naira per liter only to be told around 12noon (when government announced their very unpopular decision) that the price of fuel per liter was now 141 naira.In fact,many fuel stations out of confusion or fear or both ,closed the filling stations.What a bad New Year present by an insensitive and unfaithful govt.

Then war started.I mean protests and civil resistance and all legal and peaceful ways to protest.The Labour Unions (who later compromised) all declared strike and directed people to stay at home and not to go to work.The economy was paralysed for many days.However,this isnt the purpose of writing this note.i released many facebook notes and posts and many blackberry messages during this period.OCCUPY NIGERIA has started.I released multiple notes to this effect.Then there was this peaceful protest at various places nationwide.Gani Fawehinmi Park,Ojota Lagos became freedom square.In my heart,i hoped the strikes and protests will lead to an Arab Spring type of revolution though i know its possibility for a revolution was less than 20% by my own calculation.

I wrote many posts,messages,BB messages ,many pictures etc on Occupy Nigeria protest.I supported it fully.I wrote about the deep corruption in the petroleum sector and much more.I wrote notes about the Corruption in the oil sector – The Shady and Highly Corruption in Nigeria’s Oil Deals 1-24 and still continuing.Notes about Boko Haram and other terrorists related to Boko Haram ,medical notes and social notes and notes on issues of interest.I wrote one about the protests too and this one is a form of continuation.The note is Occupy Nigeria! A Protest or A REVOLUTION or Both

Now,i feel this is the time for me to go to my original note – Is Revolution Possible in Nigeria. topic xnged.mentality same

A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Aristotle described two types of political revolution:

Complete change from one constitution to another
Modification of an existing constitution.

Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, and motivating ideology. Their results include major changes in culture, economy, and socio-political institutions.

Scholarly debates about what does and does not constitute a revolution center around several issues. Early studies of revolutions primarily analyzed events in European history from a psychological perspective, but more modern examinations include global events and incorporate perspectives from several social sciences, including sociology and political science. Several generations of scholarly thought on revolutions have generated many competing theories and contributed much to the current understanding of this complex phenomenon

Perhaps most often, the word “revolution” is employed to denote a change in socio-political institutions.Jeff Goodwin gives two definitions of a revolution. A broad one, where revolution is

“ any and all instances in which a state or a political regime is overthrown and thereby transformed by a popular movement in an irregular, extraconstitutional and/or violent fashion ”

and a narrow one, in which

“ revolutions entail not only mass mobilization and regime change, but also more or less rapid and fundamental social, economic and/or cultural change, during or soon after the struggle for state power.

Jack Goldstone defines them as

“ an effort to transform the political institutions and the justifications for political authority in society, accompanied by formal or informal mass mobilization and noninstitutionalized actions that undermine authorities

many theories

Many such early studies of revolutions tended to concentrate on four classic cases—famous and uncontroversial examples that fit virtually all definitions of revolutions, like the Glorious Revolution (1688), the French Revolution (1789–1799), the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Chinese Revolution (1927–1949). In his famous “The Anatomy of Revolution”, however, the eminent Harvard historian, Crane Brinton, focused on the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution.

While revolutions encompass events ranging from the relatively peaceful revolutions that overthrew communist regimes to the violent Islamic revolution in Afghanistan, they exclude coups d’états, civil wars, revolts and rebellions that make no effort to transform institutions or the justification for authority (such as Józef Piłsudski’s May Coup of 1926 or the American Civil War), as well as peaceful transitions to democracy through institutional arrangements such as plebiscites and free elections, as in Spain after the death of Francisco Franco.

to be continued

Dr.Michael Adeyemi,MBBS,a medical doctor,writes from lagos