Doctors should refrain to speak to media on medical reports of political patients

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Doctors should refrain to speak to media
on medical reports of political patients
Governments are known to use them when 
they need but then challenge their
credibility as the situation changes

LAHORE: Members of the medical profession should always uphold professional ethics and refrain, refuse to speak to the media on medical reports of political patients. Professional ethics demand that when they are called, they can examine the patient, write the report and pass it on to the government or the family of the patient. They are not supposed to talk to the media and give in detail analysis on these reports. Let the government functionaries or authorities themselves handle this situation and talk to the media.

However, instances are not wanting when the healthcare professionals who are very fond to be seen on the media, the electronic media in particular seem to be not only eager but maneuver to seek opportunities of speaking on these issues on the media. Little do they realize that at time they may be trapped? The authorities might use them to take some decisions related to these patients and as soon as the critical situation is over, they do not mind to challenge the professional competence and credibility of these very healthcare professionals which they had engaged to examine the patients and report on their medical condition.

Just remember soon after the assassination of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto how a well-known surgeon and Principal of the Rawalpindi Medical College was asked to address a press conference to explain the cause of her death. It was highly uncalled for and unprofessional on his part. More recently, the medical reports of former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif are being debated every day. It may be mentioned here he was admitted to Services Institute of Medical Sciences and on the advice of the Medical Board constituted by the Provincial Government which included distinguished healthcare professionals like Dr. Tahir Shamsi a noted hematologist, Prof. Mahmood Ayaz a noted surgeon and Principal of SIMS were consulted. Even Dr. Faisal Sultan a noted infectious disease specialist was consulted and when they all are reported to have given their input, the government allowed the former Prime Minister to leave the country for treatment in London. Now the same government functionaries are blaming that the reports on which they took the decisions were fake. Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on June 15th during the budget debate, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Mr. Asad Umar said that former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif left the country in fake medical reports as reported in Daily Dawn of June 16th 2020. Now the question arises who prepared the fake medical reports? What was the role of the SIMS where he was admitted and it’s Head Prof. Mahmood Ayaz? What about the professional competence and integrity, credibility of Dr. Tahir Shamsi? Did Dr.Faisal Sultan also support the viewpoint of other members of the Medical Board? These are very respectable members of the medical profession and blaming them and casting aspersions on their integrity is indeed deplorable. The healthcare professionals should also learn a lesson from such episodes and in future keep themselves away from the Media and refuse to talk on the medical reports of political patients. Let them prepare the report when asked after examining the patient then leave it to the authorities to explain its details to the media or any other agency if need be. Doctors need to safeguard their credibility and ensure that no one should use them for their political agenda.

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