Friday, 30 September 2011

As Bahraini medics are jailed – we must appreciate our freedom to practice our craft.

I am sure that it’s not only those associated with medicine who are shocked and saddened by the jail sentences handed to twenty medics who treated activists during recent unrest in Bahrain. Jail terms will vary between 5 and 15 years, simply for treating the wounded.

I was particularly moved by a doctor interviewed recently on t.v. – a beautiful young woman, accused of fabricated charges by a military court with political motivation. She was terrified that she will be separated from her young son, and dreaded that the authorities would be coming to take her away soon.

It is inconceivable for those of us cosseted in our open society that we should face such draconian punishments for doing what we have been trained to do – to save lives, protect individuals’ health and wellbeing and treat the sick.

I trust that the international outcry, including intervention by Amnesty International and the involvement of the UK and US governments will prove effective in righting this wrong.

I have written before about how much we take our state funded health provision for granted. Perhaps we are also a little complacent about the relative freedom we have to practice our craft. Doctors, nurses, therapists and even managers. Yes, we need to find ways to control costs and improve quality and yes – as medical advances continue, there will never be enough money to offer perfect care to every patient. But as we bitch and bicker about NHS Reform, budget cuts and transfer of power, we should spare a thought for our colleagues, not just in Bahrain but in hotspots across the globe who literally put their lives on the line to help others.

Never has the Hippocratic oath, penned nearly 2500 years ago, been more appropriate:

'I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgement;I will abstain from harming or wronging any man by it'.

Anyone associated with healthcare should support the campaign to free these doctors.


Post a Comment