Hippocratic Oath

I read a post by a fellow blogger today. It reminded me of an incident which might have turned out as hers did.

My son was two and a half at that time. He and I were both suffering from viral fever. We had both been running a temperature for two days and were both drained out. He a lot more than I.

It was after eleven in the night in the dead of winter. I can’t sleep when one of the kids is sick so I was tossing and turning. I had already given him his medicines and he was sleeping fitfully. Every few seconds I would touch his forehead to check if his fever was going down.  When he began to sweat a little, I heaved a sigh of relief. The fever was going down. Hopefully it would break and my son wouldn’t be so listless and cranky. My own fever was still hovering between 102- 104 F.

I don’t know what happened, I must have dropped off to sleep. Ten minutes later I ‘woke’ with a start knowing something was not good. I put out my hand on my son and found that he had gone into a convulsion. His little body was stiff as a board. His jaw was clenched tight and he had stopped breathing. He was turning blue.

He had his first convulsive attack when he was eight months old. He was running a temperature that day too. My ex was holding him in his arms. Suddenly my little baby went stiff. My ex told me to grab the scooter keys saying we’ve got to get him to a doctor.  In seconds, we were on our way. When I looked at my son, to my horror I saw that he had stopped breathing and his face was turning blue. Sitting pillion on the scooter, I don’t know how it occurred to me, but I grabbed his little body under my left arm and held him tightly there. With the fingers of both my hands I pried his mouth open, took a deep breath and pumped that air into his mouth. He began crying- and breathing. Color returned back to his face in seconds.

The doctor told us that he went into a convulsion because his fever had shot over 101 F and he couldn’t take it. We were told never to let his fever go beyond 100 F or he would have another convulsion. There was no saying what kind of damage he might suffer under an attack. We were also told that as he grew older, he would be less at risk. After he crosses 8-9 years of age, he would no longer have this problem. But we needed to be careful until then.

As a result, though he is eleven now, I cannot sleep a wink if he is feverish.

That winter night was the second time he had gone into a convulsion. Again, I don’t know who guided me. The first thing I did was to pick up the bedside water bottle and empty it on his head. Then I again pried his mouth open and blew into it with all my force. He spluttered a began crying, breathing again.

My dad and I (my ex had earned the ‘ex’ status by then) took my son to the hospital as a precaution. We wanted to be sure he was okay and there was nothing to fear.

By the time we reached one of the biggest hospitals in the heart of the city, it was after twelve. The doctor on night duty checked my son. His temperature was down to 99 F. He was breathing normally and had color back in his cheeks. Once the doctor told me there was nothing wrong, I picked up my son and prepared to leave.

The doctor told me he will have to admit my son and keep him under ‘observation’ for at least 24 hours, probably more. There were tests to be performed, including a CT scan. I wasn’t too happy with that and hesitated. Then he made the mistake.

Glaring me accusingly, he said, “Looks like you don’t care for the life of your son.”

I lost it.

I picked up my son, handed him to my father and asked him to wait in the car. Then I slapped the doctor with all my strength. He fell down because the blow was totally unexpected. I told him I didn’t need to prove my love for my son to a lowlife like him. Almost trembling with rage, I walked out. It took me hours to cool down.

Whenever I  hear how hospitals are interested only in fleecing patients by playing on the family’s fears, even stooping to the extent of making them feel guilty and suggesting that they don’t care for their patient, I remember this incident.

This is not just a lack of ethics. Its a lack of everything human. When the entire society’s ethical fiber is ripping into shreds, how could the medical profession be spared? Stories of ‘organ harvesting’ from the bodies of perfectly healthy people, who have no idea that they have given away an organ, are enough to petrify me. The rot has spread all over.

The good people, the humane doctors, are grossly outnumbered. They bear the brunt of the evil created by their corrupt fellow professionals. It is true for all professions which doesn’t make it any less sad. If the world thinks that a stock market crash spells disaster, it needs to see what the crash of humanity’s ethics is going to spell.

I found this Revised Hippocratic Oath as I was searching the net for the text of the old Hippocratic Oath. Somehow, it seems so much more appropriate.

Saviors have turned predators. Beware!

Picture from Google Images
Picture from Google Images

10 thoughts on “Hippocratic Oath”

  1. Good for you! And the doctor deserved what he got.
    I am not sure if taking the H oath again will help. One can only hope that the medical profession hasn’t been overrun completely by folks who are in it for all the wrong reasons. The signs are not too encouraging.

    1. For that matter Rickie, the signs are not encouraging for any profession. What percentage of us get into a profession for the ‘right’ reasons? When one treats one’s profession as a means to earn money and prestige, instead of it being a ‘calling’ that one pursues out of passion and love of the doing, things of this kind are bound to happen. Our profession have become a means to an end.

      It scares me really.

  2. Wow, you slapped him! Now the guy surely had it coming but hats off to your guts. And, like Rickie pointed out, I wonder if it is any use retaking the Hippocratic oath if all honesty and nobility towards the profession is anyway lost. It is a sad state and there are only a few docs these days who actually care about their patients.

    1. The doctors who truly care for their patients are also looked at with suspicion by their patients. I have seen patients doubt a doctors competency because he doesn’t ask them to get a battery of tests conducted.

      As for honesty and nobility, what are they?

  3. May I fall down on my knees to you? Total respect. These days, medicine is a profession which has become corrupt – like so many other once revered professions. This is what possibly is the overt manifestation of Kaliyug

    1. Ritu, you’d have done the same. Or more. We’re like that only, aren’t we?

      Manifestation of kalyug? Absolutely!

  4. That was much needed chastisement. My respect for you keeps growing.

    Someone told me something similar about my father too. He was already in the ICCU but he was perfectly fine. But when I insisted on him getting discharged they sedated him heavily, its effects lasted for nearly four days.

    Medicine and education have become mafia. But then what hasn’t? There are cretins and louts in the blogosphere too.

    1. They sedated your father just to keep him in hospital!? What blessed cheats!

      Cretins and louts are a lot more visible in every facet of society. The fault is ours I think. We have withdrawn from the places where we ought to have staked a claim. To say that we have withdrawn in disgust doesn’t alter the fact that we’ve created a vacuum for the louts to occupy.

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