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Should doctors refuse to treat infected patients until provided PPE?

Image credit: WBUR
Image credit: WBUR

It is reported that many doctors in government hospitals in Bihar have refused to work in their hospitals unless they are provided with personal protective equipment to avoid coronavirus infection.
One can understand the concern of these doctors. But then what happens to their Hippocratic oath? There are many infectious diseases, but if doctors ignore their sacred duty of treating the sick just because they themselves may get infected, what will happen to their oath?
When the Twin Towers in New York were hit on 9/11 the firefighters went into the buildings to save lives, though many themselves perished.
In the novel ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ by Harper Lee, the lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in the state of Alabama ( which was then a capital offense in the state ) despite knowing of the risk to himself and his family of being physically attacked by racists.
I appeal to doctors to follow the message of the Gita and do their duty of attending to the sick regardless of the consequences.

Also Read: Why many Indians agree that COVID-19 is ‘Chinese Bio-Terrorism’

A clarification

Many people have criticized me for my previous post. So, let me clarify.
I never said that the demand of doctors for PPE ( personal protective equipment ) in view of the coronavirus danger is unjustified. My question is: should doctors refuse to treat patients with infectious diseases until provided PPE?
There are numerous infectious diseases in the world. Should doctors refuse to treat patients infected by them until given PPE for fear that they may themselves be infected? In my opinion, the correct answer can only be in the negative. It is true that the authorities should provide PPE to doctors. But what if they don’t? Should doctors violate their Hippocratic oath in this situation and refuse to treat infected patients?
No doubt doctors will be endangering themselves In this situation, but they should follow the message of Lord Krishna in the Gita and do their duty regardless of the consequences.
I had written an article that it is the duty of a lawyer to defend his client even if it is personally dangerous for him to do so, like Atticus Finch. In Pakistan, many lawyers have defended blasphemy accused though they are in danger of themselves being killed.
When the Twin Towers in New York were attacked on 9/11 many firefighters went into the buildings to save lives, though many themselves perished.
The Hippocratic oath nowhere says that doctors should treat the sick only if they are themselves free of any danger. So doctors should follow it and do their duty.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views or opinions of TheRationalDaily in any manner.

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