Tuesday, 1 March 2016


I had this class on medical ethics today with our final year students who are almost at the end of their pediatric posting. The concept is of the class is quite simple. I ask them beforehand to reflect on the 10 or so weeks they have already spent in pediatrics postings and pick up one moment or few moments when they encountered something not quite right, not quite ethical happening in the pediatric wards.

The students share the moments and then we have a bit of a discussion about it. It is often interesting and quite fun to talk about their experiences and hear their own thoughts on how to improve it or avoid the problems.

Today I got more than just that. At a certain moment in the class there were two girls who got so excited. They were thinking at the same moment of the same woman they had seen in the clinic. It was a teacher who had only a very limited number of days she could take of from her teaching days and she had to come quite often to the clinic. To be able to do that she went to "buy" an MC (Medical certificate) from a private clinic. The doctor seeing her child had refused to give her MC and just had produced a standard time slip which was not accepted by the school principle.

Buying an MC is quite problematic from an ethical point of view (both for patient and doctor) but why not the pediatrician writes a letter to the principle explaining the need of regular follow up and the need for the teacher to have her leave to do other things. I have written letters to support parents in many ways and do not recall a single time when the employers refused to cooperate with the requests made.

I truly enjoyed today's session and the enthusiasm and excitement of these students was making the whole session so special, I think. If we can get people excited, enthusiastic about ethics, I think this is something nice to achieve. If this happens, you feel it as a gift of God, a gift of the students, and a little bit also a gift from yourself.

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