|Saturday, 14 June 2003|
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Think twice before wielding strike weapon
Another strike by the Government Medical Officers' Association has been suspended after having plunged State hospitals islandwide into a morass of suffering and tears.
Patients in their hundreds and thousands turned up at these hospitals only to realise that the expected succour from the proverbial hands that heal just wasn't forthcoming. These patients, the majority of whom cannot afford to patronise private hospitals, are left with no choice but to wilt unattended, in silent suffering and pain.
The local public may now be quite familiar with this distressing situation of afflicted patients having their agonies compounded by striking Government doctors but it continues to be a happening which sparks moral outrage among civilized human beings and causes their hearts to be filled with deep sorrow for the abandoned patients. Over the past couple of decades when GMOA-inspired strikes assumed phenomenal proportions the question has been asked from the striking doctors, by the humane, with seeming futility: why attempt to win demands over the suffering bodies of patients?
We are compelled to pose this question once again on being witness to another unfeeling attempt by the GMOA to win their narrow demands at the expense of suffering patients. As every right-thinking person knows, the end doesn't justify the means. The GMOA now seems to be quite adept at turning this golden rule on its head. Lamenting such situations Ad Nauseam is not going to prove effective.
The Health Minister was quoted saying that he was awaiting Cabinet approval for the salary demand made by the GMOA. It is only a question of bearing with the authorities for one more week.
The long, sad history of confrontations of this kind and the incontrovertible proof that has emerged of professional demands taking primacy over ethical considerations, should prompt the Government into initiating conflict resolution mechanisms which would nip such crises in the bud. Obviously, the GMOA should play a significant role in these conflict-resolution bodies. We are given to understand that some efforts were made in this direction some time back but nothing seems to have come out of these exertions thus far.
We are quite aware of the fact that the GMOA would have its own story to tell. But let it be informed, that strikes by doctors are unheard of among those countries which adhere to civilized norms of conduct. Caring for the sick and the dying is a sacred duty which cannot be abandoned.
That a much looked up to professional body is now running the risk of being seen as being indifferent to these standards of conduct, points to the degree to which the wider society has turned individualistic and callously acquisitive. A society-wide wild, unmitigated scramble is on for the "good things in life". Very few sections seem to be untouched by this ruinous trend.
Produced by Lake House