All cast aside - but the stethoscope!
Hippocratic Oath is solemnly parroted when medical interns become fully
fledged doctors. It is a long oath and there are several versions,
ancient and modern, but within it come these sentiments: “I will use
treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but
never with a view to lying and wrong doing. I will keep pure and holy
both my life and my art.”
And, there is much more about selfless service, healing the sick
always, being blameless as far as possible. All thrown overboard now!
The Oath was first written in Greek script by Hippocrates or,
students of his, between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE.
Solemnly taking some of what was inscribed then as a medical oath was
excellent to give new medical practitioners a sense of how they should
perform - with integrity, selflessness, treating all patients equally
and giving prime consideration to the patient, not oneself, the healer.
We, older ones, knew doctors of this type. Even today there are
plenty doctors of compassion, integrity and high principles, but
unfortunately the traits now becoming more and more visible, especially
among the younger ones and not the specialists, are the opposites of
these and resemble those of corrupt politicians. And where are these
negatives most discerned now? It is in their large, representative trade
union, the Government Medical Officers Association. Sad, no?
This cat snarls her strong disapproval of threats by the GMOA to work
to rule, if not full strike action, not caring a jot for sufferers in
hospital OPDs and very ill patients awaiting urgent surgery.
They seem to strike for anything and everything thus resembling the
so-called Joint Opposition which shouts about this, that and the other
matter, just to vilify Yahapalanaya.
The GMOA is sticking its thumb in too many pies. Any connection
between the two bodies?
We, the public, cannot understand why the GMOA protests so
vociferously against the private medical college – SAITM.
We had thought more doctors are needed in the country; doctors who
had passed out would be more sympathetic to those who failed to gain
entrance to the government medical colleges. So we, in our ignorance of
human nature and political slants, thought the practicing doctors in
this country should encourage more doctors being trained and be glad of
an opportunity for aspiring medical students to undergo learning and
training by paying fees and having that money retained in the country
and not spent abroad.
But we were wrong. Those very doctors who had their entire medical
education up to the MBBS free are acting like dogs in the manger. Sorry
to be so blunt but it is a true estimation.
What a lowering of standards of practicing medical doctors to align
themselves with protesting university and medical students who are being
educated at government expense.
What an uproar trying to debar these private medical students of
their clinical training and then pointing fingers of accusation that
their medical degrees are inferior and they are insufficiently trained.
Now the ‘gentlemen’ of the GMOA threaten strike action asking for
entrance to the best schools for their children, no matter where they
live! They seem to all want Visakha Vidyalaya for their daughters and
Royal and Ananda Colleges for sons.
‘Aney, too much!’ This feline spits out a common-or-garden expression
to show her derision. And adds: ‘Who do they think they are?’ Doctors
probably render greater human service than other professionals as they
cure the sick and save the very sick. But it is their duty to do the
above-mentioned not expecting greater rewards and their offspring to be
treated specially. If all doctors had their young children accepted to
Grade I classes in Visakha Vidyalaya and Royal College, there would be
no room for any other parents’ children.
The action most shocking and most revealing of their true natures and
make-up was when they spent a night of protest in the Education
Minister’s office, emulating their breed of Parliamentarians who
protested, sprawled as if they were drunk and sated with food, in the
sacrosanct Parliament chamber. The docs went two steps further down the
pallang of degeneration. They called for a doctor and ambulance to treat
one of their weak darlings who had fainted. A possible ruse to get food
and drink inside to sustain them in the fight for the welfare of their
Doctor, heal thyself! Behave like persons on whom the government has
spent billions for generations of doctors giving a sound medical
This feline remembers the trials and tribulations undergone by
parents and families to get a child admitted to one of the bigger
schools in a city in Sri Lanka forty to fifty years ago.
They moved to live as close as possible to the school of their
choice, and often cramped themselves into a tiny ‘annex’ residence. No
high-rise flats available then.
One remembers how a senior teacher in the Primary School of Royal
College would go to all the addresses given by selected applicants to
see whether they were honest declarations. So when parents went with
their darlings on the first day of school, most on foot, there was a
huge mix of little ones – proportionate to ethnicity, irrespective of
economic status of parents. No bias, no prejudice, no cheating
This was the time when honesty prevailed; when principals and
headmasters and headmistresses observed rules to the letter. Then came
corruption, mild, at first. New Grade I students could be seen
clambering into buses with distant destinations such as Moratuwa et al.
Parents had cheated with false addresses. Nowadays things are
slicker: parents register newborns in a bought or borrowed address close
to the school of their choice. We, older parents, suffered much but have
the satisfaction of having been honest and never teaching our
five-year-olds to lie about their homes.
The medical general practitioners of today want everything handed
them on golden platters: tax free car import licenses, best schools,
unlimited private practice and even government policy on regional trade
and education decided on according to their wishes! Are they demigods
just because we people depend on them in our hours of dire sickness? Are
they so special simply because they have a stethoscope strung around
their thickening necks?!