I happened to visit one of my high school friends who is now a surgeon and one of the associates in a prestigious hospital in our city. He invited me and some of our colleagues way back then over his place for dinner. I was awed at the sight of his place. It was indeed a grand house with rooms for all members of the family and for any activity that you might think of. He has a billiard hall, a huge pool, a library, a cinema, and a gym. He was proud of showing everything saying it was all products of his hard work and fulfillment of his dreams.
I wrote this article not out of envy or hate for doctors who have material aspirations but in a hope that these dreams of having what they want do not impede their professionalism and morale. Truly, commercialism has been a great factor in almost all kinds of products and services. Almost every tiny detail of services nowadays has its corresponding price. The becoming of this situation in medical practice is somehow inevitable. Years from now, it will be unsurprising to see that medical doctors will be posting prices of their services in their clinics. Apparently, this has already been happening in some medical field like beauty clinics. However, for cases with patients having a life or death situation, it is very much out of depth to put a price for a specific medical procedure and openly advertise it to public. It is very contradictory to what I believe being holistic in taking care of patients is.
In Hongkong, a commercial organization has launched a campaign to list out the consultation and medicine fees of certain group of doctors in their country. This list will be placed in their clinics and in some public areas such as restaurants. This has gained a controversy since it opposes the professional code and conduct of physicians which discourages doctors to engage in promotion of medical services. Promotion takes in provision of information, advertising, and canvassing in relation to both the public and patients.
It is very uncomforting that the prize of being a doctor is now already measured by commercially driven rewards and not by the honor of having to heal patients. I appreciate the effort that each doctor exerted and gone through to earn the knowledge and skill that they have right now. Truly, it has been a product of hard work and sleepless nights. But I do believe that with use of every learned skill and knowledge, being a doctor is an honor to serve and heal the sick.