Friday Intern Topic of the Day IV: Say you Hate your patient?
As a follow up to the previous post I would like to throw out this as a topic of conversation.
My wife, who is an attorney, recently had to excuse herself from a case after finding out that one of the clients involved is a relative of ours. The law, fearing this could lead to bias, demands that lawyers disclose such information to their clients and, when possible, excuse themselves from the case when such a situation develops.
I often wondered what goes through the mind of Israeli doctors when they are forced to attempt to save the life of a suicide bomber after he has just murdered so many other innocent lives. It happened to this doctor in Iraq and he describes the anger that was slowly building within him:
“The more of the story I heard, the more angry I got,” he said. “But I was still able to do my job and realized I am a professional and I’m going to take care of this guy.It always ends that way doesn't it? "I'm a professional. I did my job". Well, but all professionals are also human beings who have feelings and exhibit anger and resentment. Can one really, honestly, say that those feelings will have no consequence on the type of care your patient recieves?
In other words, should physicians be forced to dislose when they feel anger towards their patients. And...should they then be forced to sign off the case? After all, we don't even trust lawyers when it comes to simple money matters. Should we trust physicians when it comes to human life?