People often joke that doctors play God. When we are eventually qualified, even during our training in fact, people’s lives are in our hands. The decisions and mistakes we make determine whether someone will see their children grow up, whether someone will get a second chance to change the things they have come to regret.
Health is life. Life is sacred, band we deal in the currency off life: health.
So it rarely bothers me (as yet) when a relative or a friend asks the old question, “How do you guys live with yourselves? I mean, if you’re treating a rapist, saving a murderer?”
It’s important to have a conscience, but more important to have perspective. We are not God, and because of the nature of our calling we are in no place to play judge and jury when it comes to who deserves life.
At least, that’s how I feel.
But when I was listening to the radio the other day and heard on the news of a 23 year od medical student in India who was gang-raped and murdered… Obviously there was an uproar in India. Justice was demanded, and justice was promised.
But as with any situation involving justice, there would need to be due process. A trial with lawyers. Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense.
And let us assume the lawyers are fully aware of their clients’ guilt. I don’t think I’d be able to try and convince a judge that a group of rapists and murderers were not a group of rapists and murderers.
Or that they were indeed rapists and murderers, but that they deserve a second chance to be a part of the community that they had violated.
Lawyers deal in the currency of justice. And that just seems like fraud.
Ed’s note: A friend pointed out that not all lawyers deal in criminal law. Yes. But not all doctors are surgeons. This post is not about professional ideologies, but rather principles, hence the multitude of general statements.