Letters to the Editor
This site is supported by Health ONE
PROFESSIONALISM AND THE MEDICAL HUB As we set our sights to take a leadership role in the regional medical hub, we should also examine our professionalism. Will we be seen as a nation of doctors who are commercial entrepreneurs? Ultimately, we need to view ourselves in relation to the world around us.
We have the Singapore Physicians Pledge. Our doctors upon graduation read it aloud. There is a need for us to ensure that all our doctors practice medicine to the spirit of it.
The general trend in recent years is the pushing back of the frontiers of medical ethics in the name of entrepreneurship. Whilst we may convince ourselves that this acceptable, we need be mindful of the values of the doctors in the region.
The gamma knife incident a year ago is a good case in point. The Malaysian doctors viewed the promotion of this new modality to a group of doctors and the public in Kuala Lumpur by a Singaporean doctor to be ethically unacceptable and indeed lodged a complaint with the Singapore Medical Council.
The recent press publicity of what is viewed to be an experimental treatment for brain tumour is another case in point. The prevailing medical ethical attitude is that the medical professional should refrain from publicity of such matters in the press.
Medical ethical waters are also being tested by certain doctors by the nature of their commercial involvement with non-doctors. These activities are closely watched as they have serious implications on our ethical fabric.
In the strongly entrepreneurial environment of Singapore, there is a need for the Singapore Medical Council and the Singapore Medical Association to chart the direction of the professionalism upon which we sail our way to the medical hub. And that professionalism must be based on the paradigm of the patients interests above all else. The medical profession cannot afford to lose the trust of the patient, whether the patient is a local or a regional one.
A/PROF GOH LEE GAN