Code of Ethics in Medical Profession – Do Pakistani Doctors Follow It?
The most recent news that created waves in the media is of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy blaming a doctor, an Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUHS) employee, of improper conduct. Apparently, the doctor had sent her sister a friend request on Facebook. She had gone to him for an emergency check-up and SOC claimed that her sister’s account was private so the doctor must have used private data to reach her. In doing so, he clearly violated the rules of a doctor’s code of conduct.
There are zero boundaries in #pakistan! Last night my sister went to AKU emergency & the doctor who tended to her tried 2 add her on FB 1/2
— Sharmeen Obaid (@sharmeenochinoy) October 23, 2017
However, her allegations brewed up quite a reaction from the Pakistanis because of a certain “H” word that she might have used a tad bit carelessly. Situation further worsened when AKUHS dismissed the said doctor. Presently, there is a lot of controversy on the topic with a few celebrities standing up for SOC while a huge chunk of awaam is taking the doctor’s side. Losing a career over a friend request sounds a bit harsh.
Medical and Dental Code of Ethics in Pakistan
Whether SOC’s claim of harassment is right or not is debatable. However, it led us to think about what exactly Pakistan’s Medical and Dental Code of Ethics is. More importantly, do the doctors follow it?
Here is what we found out:
Boundary Violations in Medical Practise in Pakistan are Common
There are extensive reports of Pakistani doctors violating their patients’ sanctity. Research reports on this matter state that as well. However, not many of such cases are brought to light or rightfully dealt with. The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has a set of rules that if implemented, can bring the problem to a close. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
There are so many cases where a male doctor’s hand slips ‘accidentally’ to someplace where it has no business to be. Then there is this whole normal delivery vs. caesarean issue. Female gynaecologists convince their patients to opt for an operation even when there are no complications. Why? The cost of an operation is way higher than a normal delivery. There is also the ‘how about you come to my private clinic instead?‘ case, where the fees will be higher. The same doctor who treats you like you have landed into their office straight from a gutter in a government hospital will treat you like a royalty in their private clinic.
What is more horrendous is this is not just limited to the civilian facilities. If you or any of your relatives are from army then congratulations. Go receive royal treatment at all the CMHs you find. However, if God forbid you are a civilian, don’t you ever go near any of them. They will probably treat you like you are a terrorist. They will check you at the hospital entrance, frown upon you, and charge you, all the while hating you for not belonging to army.
Lastly, there are the government hospitals where they are just not interested in you and your ailments. They have better things to do. Just go stand in a line somewhere and when you wish you were dead, they might just write a prescription for you.
We are not saying that this is the case with every other doctor. There are several great ones in our country. However, this is how it is with the most of them. Besides, it is not easy for the poor to afford the good ones. Considering all that, a friend request does not sound much of a deal to us.