Friday Intern Topic of the Day VII: Is the Doctor Displaying Ethical Behavior?
I love comments. Yes, I agree, I do tend to be less “responsive” to commentators than other bloggers but I certainly read each and every comment that’s left here. So if you ever have something to say please take the time to leave a comment, I do love to read them.
There are, however, comments that go in one ear and out the other and others that make me think. Earlier in the week I posted an entry about Ian Thorpe. I speculated that based on the information available to me, that Ian Thorpe may have HIV. I gathered the information from press releases released by Ian and from whatever I could gather that was released by the general media. I even submitted the post to Grand Rounds. Where, somehow amid the thousand and one entries this week, it managed to get a certain amount of attention.
There was one comment left by a certain Dr. Steve that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now and I would like to comment on it. And, I would like to hear your comments on it too:
As a fellow physician, I think it is marginally unethical of you to openly speculate, based on extremely thin second-hand guesswork that a prominent figure like the "Thorpedo" has HIV. I don't think you would like that if the tables were turned (especially if it turns out that the guess is wrong).I actually thought it was a great comment. It didn’t contain any foul language or derogatory remarks and yet drives the same point home. Everyone, I would like you to take this as the perfect example of how to display dissatisfaction with a certain post without displaying lack of taste. Wonderful stuff and it made me think. Am I being somewhat unethical in speculating about Ian Thorpe’s condition openly on the internet?
Lately I’ve been contemplating the purpose of blogging. Other than the occasional sharing of something creative that I wrote is there really any other benefit to what I’m doing, and by extension, to blogging at all? (I contemplate too much, I know)
Here’s what I concluded:
If there is anything that we as bloggers can contribute in the big spectrum is that we are all experts at something. Likely, our level of expertise far outweighs that of the reporter who writes the column for the big media conglomerates whom we are all reading. These reporters don’t know what questions need to be asked because they are not lawyers, doctors, cops or accountants. They are reporters and that is the only thing they know.
Ian is not my patient. I took an oath to protect the privacy of my patients. It would be unlikely that, Ian Thorpe being who he is, other doctors have not already discussed the possibility on big media in Australia. In addition, Ian’s condition is being discussed everywhere, last I checked, 300 articles around the globe this week alone.
But boy does he have a point and I mean that honestly. I can totally see what he means and a certain part of me is still contemplating if I should continue this. But I really do enjoy trying to piece the information together. Is it unethical?
What do you think?