Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

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Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

Post by drunkninjabug on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:08 pm

In light of the recent strike by doctors in delhi, an important question is raised with regards to the morality of this action. Understandably, the issue is a sensitive one with heated arguments from both the sides. Is it the carrying out of a basic human and legal right ? Or is it against the sanctity of the Hippocrratic Oath and Medical profession as a whole ?
Let's discuss.

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Re: Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

Post by robinssidekick on Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:31 am

Sensitive issue it is and by all means I'll try to make as much sense as I can. To start with, in my opinion all forms of revolts are a way arm twisting usually a higher authority. Now this demeanor might be necessary in some cases but however this does not undermine the fact that there are consequences.
Let us now talk about the doctors that practice these forms of decent, these are the doctors stationed at metropolitans or places that are equipped with basic amenities. We don't hear such maneuvers from the doctors at government clinics in rural areas. So this perhaps can be easily deduced that the strikes are focused on improving the living standards and not for things that are absolutely necessary. Because every authority be it government or private understands the importance of good doctors or in usual cases qualified doctors, and they treat this fragile ussue with care. Now coming to the doctors, do they understand this ? What crisis we here are facing in terms of health standards because of lack of qualified individuals !
Moreover since we are talking about consequences I don't think if any other profession quits their work ethic we'll be looking at a graver outcome. Nothing I guess is directed against humanity in such a subtle way.

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Re: Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:51 am

When we talk about doctors on strike and discuss it along the grounds of morality, what we must first understand is whether we are against the principle of strikes in general or we are only concerned with doctors using the strike as a tool to meet their obstinate demands.

If we are talking about the latter cases wherein we do understand the importance of strikes in a democracy, but are concerned with doctors practicing this particular democratic right, and our main cause is the relatively greater collateral damage that such a situation might present, then we must entertain a certain subjectivity in how we approach the situation.

The reason we must entertain this element of subjectivity in our discussions is that we are talking about taking away the democratic rights of a certain section  of our society based entirely on their nature of profession.
Its not like we have never done it before, but back then it was called Caste system.

Now, when we look at cases of  doctors on strike, we must consider the consequential results too. When we judge the actions of those doctors, we cannot judge it solely by considering the amount of harm conceded during the period of strike, we must also consider the resulting outcome to determine the moral worth of the action in whole.
Now to do so, again we must treat every case subjectively and determine the proper course of action by analyzing the situation in hand and choosing the path that maximizes the overall good of the greatest number of individuals.


For instance in the recent case of Delhi, when we look at the demands of the doctors
we will find that the demands are not meant for the sole benefit of doctors, but have also included welfare of the patients. Demands for better supply of medicine, better security, paid leave for pregnant doctors, reasonable working hours and better working conditions are the basic rights that any individual would expect in his working environment.
And if you analyze these demands, you realize that patients are being equally benefitted as a doctor working for reasonable hours will be able to look after them way better than any exhausted doctor who might not provide the best medical service and thereby break his  Hippocratic Oath.

I would conclude with the statement that a case of doctors going on strike should not be treated in any way different than any other faction of professionals  going on a strike in the sense that the demands of the doctors must be heard and analyzed to judge the moral worth of their actions, and acted upon with the aim of attaining a solution that is agreeable to the majority of stakeholders.
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Re: Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

Post by spongebobsquarepants on Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:33 am

Indian democracy is not new to the concept of strikes as a form of democratic protest, usually it is taken as the last resort when all other checks and balances of the elaborate system of democracy fails. These strikes have the potential to derail normal lives, can cause unprecedented loss to national revenue and property and can undermine the functioning of the democracy itself.

Now when it comes to the question of doctors , rather than derailing the institutions of democracy what needs to come to focus is that there are people lives who are entirely dependent on them, and these strikes can severely alter many peoples physical capability to live happily. However many argue that doctors are at the end of the day simply people, and their profession is simply just like any other and hence should be given the right to protest.

So I believe that when it comes to this issue there is a clash between two principles one of professional responsibility and the other of individual rights and when we analyze both from their perspectives both seem to be right. This makes the prospect of finding a middle ground in this issue extremely challenging and difficult.

However it is my personal belief that, doctors should be given the right to protest, with some safeguards in place so that they can bring out their grievance without causing large scale damage to the public. Such measures may include options such as keeping emergency centres and trauma care out of such strikes, closing down a particular part of the service than the entire activity etc

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Re: Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

Post by latenightcornerstone on Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:26 pm

The fact that the well being of the entire society could be thrown into chaos by bringing the practice of doctors to a standstill just goes on to show how urgently we need to address their greivances and also, commit to improving working conditions for them. we are very well aware of the sanctity of this profession and how the work of the doctors is crucial in the overall picture of our lives.

From my point of view, any action is best judged by the why behind it and the resulting consequences borne of it and as pointed out by Admin, the reason the doctors went on a strike is to demand some basic rights for themselves that they have been deprived of since ages. Have the doctors ever felt the need to strike before? No. Then we must understand that they had probably reached the end of their limit now to take the aid of such a drastic measure. After all, who would walk a path of war when their needs can be met peacefully through discussion? The doctors had written to the Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister regarding their demands but they were ignored and hence, they had no choice but to employ a more 'loud' means of protest.

Also, we can confidently believe that being in the profession themselves, they are well aware of the many hazards that come with the practice and being humans just like any and every one of us, they have the right to be taken care of properly for their services so they can perform at peak levels. The hike in salaries, maternity leaves for pregnant doctors, increase in the no. Of beds... All these are reasonable demands that would just add to the proper functioning of doctors and the hospitals.

Talking in terms of damage, yes there would be considerable harm during the time the doctors continue their strike. BUT shifting from the microscopic to the macroscopic view, we can see that in the long run, it would benefit both the practioners and the patients. The aim is to constantly progress and make the work environment better. The strike can be accepted with some measures that ensure that harm does not exceed a certain limit. The doctors took care of that themselves too by continuing on with the normal working of the emergency wards. And if the strike does bear fruitful results (which it has) for all those affected, what is the wrong in opting this method of protest?

Hence, the strike of the doctors is totally justified and reasonable according to me. Democracy works on the principle of freedom and the freedom to be heard is available to all irrespective of their profession. If someone does decide to use their rights, the government is duty bound to hear them out and fulfill their needs where they are not being met.

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Re: Doctors on Strike - A fundamental right or an ethical transgression ?

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