Gransnet forums


Hypocritical oath

(12 Posts)
absentgrana Wed 20-Jul-11 11:54:55

I am horrified by a short piece in yesterdays Guardian reporting on a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics. 733 medical students took part.

"The survey revealed that almost a third of students would not perform an abortion for a congenitally malformed foetus after 24 weeks, a quarter would not perform an abortion for failed contraception before 24 weeks and a fifth would not perform an abortion on a minor who was a victim of rape," according to researcher Dr Strickland. Apparently, almost half those asked believe doctors should be allowed to refuse any procedure to which they object on moral, cultural or religious grounds, such as prescribing contraception or treating someone who is drunk or high on drugs.

I cannot believe the arrogance of these young people, who are not yet qualified doctors, that makes them think that they are entitled to make moral judgements about future patients. I thought the days of doctor as god were well and truly past. AIBU?

greenmossgiel Wed 20-Jul-11 12:13:15

I'm with you there, absentgrana. In this case, should they even consider their 'calling'? hmm

Barrow Wed 20-Jul-11 15:21:59

I may be in a minority here but I do have SOME sympathy with the medical students. They are going into the profession to try to save lives so their immediate thoughts would be to refuse abortions etc. However, I think once they get out into the real world and learn a few home truths they will temper their opinions somewhat. If they still don't feel able to perform abortions they should ALWAYS direct the patient to a Doctor who would.

absentgrana Wed 20-Jul-11 15:32:13

It may well be that further thought needs to be applied to many contentious issues in the health service, including abortion. What is not required is medical students laying down the law about what they will and will not do once qualified because they believe they have the moral high ground. In reality, of course, the legal situation is rather different, but I am concerned about the smug, superior attitude.

Barrow Wed 20-Jul-11 15:38:20

absentgrana - they are students so of course have a smug superior attitude!! At that age they see things in black and white with no grey areas. As I said I am sure once they start work they will find out how the real world works and that, in fact, they may be unable to refuse to carry out certain procedures (not sure about that though)! Don't you remember when you were young being sure your opinion was the one that was right - I certainly do. It's only as I get older I realise I don't really know anything!!!

Notsogrand Wed 20-Jul-11 16:01:26

This raises an interesting point, quite separate from any moral stances which may be taken. There are likely to be medical students who will not change their views with experience or maturity because their religious and/or cultural beliefs oppose some procedures, eg abortion.
I wonder how that works once they're qualified and practicing in a country and culture where such procedures are legal and routinely carried out?

JessM Wed 20-Jul-11 16:05:59

Is it a co-incidence that a very high proportion have come from private schools. I saw some info on this and now can't find it. The private school system is a very good at churning out 3 science A grade A levels. And then there is the prejudice on the part of admissions officers...
I dont think having a very elite upbringing and education is particularly good preparation for being a doctor. They will be spending a lot more time with the poorer segment of the community because they have more illness.

This report talks about the socio-econmic imbalance, but skirts around the private/state education question. (I think - i have not read it all...)

ah - here we are - 50% of doctors went to public school. 7% of population. i find this deeply shocking.

absentgrana Wed 20-Jul-11 16:37:32

The Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians is very concerned about a growing number of doctors – and, clearly, future doctors – objecting to abortions. Now whatever we grans think about abortion – and I am sure there are diverse opinions across a substantial range of concerns – I don't believe any of us would want a return to the days of dangerous and illegal douches and knitting needles.

JessM Wed 20-Jul-11 16:46:57

Too right. We are old enough, most of us, to remember them becoming legal

helshea Wed 20-Jul-11 16:53:17

Thank god for progress, but on the otherhand I am definitely of the mind that I would not be able to harm a foetus over a few weeks. I would never criticise anyone else for performing or having an abortion, but I know I could not actually perform one. Fortunately I am not a doctor and am not in that position.

crimson Wed 20-Jul-11 17:21:46

Brings to mind the old joke [if that's the correct term; perhaps adage better?] 'Q; what's the difference between God and a doctor A; God doesn't think he's a doctor.

JessM Wed 20-Jul-11 18:09:10

I was working with a group of doctors once. They said "We think we are God. But the neurosurgeon's KNOW they are God."