Tuesday, March 20, 2007

cura te ipsum or primum non nocere?

I didn't enter the medical profession to make money. I entered medicine, pediatrics specifically, because I had that semi-altruistic desire to help people. I say semi-altruistic because some would argue that true altruism does not exist, that there is always something in it for you, even if it's just feeling good about helping someone.

But that's a philosophical debate for another day.

I read an article this morning in the NY Times that troubled me on many levels. Doctors in Shymkent, Kazakhstan being sued for giving unnecessary blood transfusions because they profited from it. They claim that their salaries are so low that it forces them to make money where they can, $10 per transfusion as it turns out.

Ok. While the ethical quandaries abound, some might argue that if they're not hurting anyone, then what's the problem, right?


Some of the children who received these unnecessary blood transfusions now have HIV.

Primum non nocere, in this case, trumps cura te ipsum. $10? Seriously?

1 comment:

yanis said...

A few hundred kilometres to the West unnecessary operations take place to the expense of newborns and toddlers.And all that just for money.Everybody makes a profit here.The referring peadiatrician and the ped.surgeon.Usually it is fifty-fifty or else you get no referral.Try to fight this and you end up at 43 with grey hair and earning less than your neighbour kiosk owner.