Thursday, June 21, 2007

Doogie Reincarnated

The Over Ambitious Parent has struck again!

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSDEL13094020070621?feedType=RSS

Let's scroll back the years to some centuries ago. Medicine certainly wasn't the same science it is now, what with bloodletting to balance the body's humors and the not-yet-discovered link between bacteria and infection (doctors wash their hands? Whyever for?). I don't know exactly when the first medical school opened, or when it became required to attend, but I'm sure prior to that, doctors-in-training had to undergo an apprenticeship with a doctor so they could learn "everything" they needed to know. This is, in a way, what this 15 year old boy has been doing.

However (and that's a BIG however), the fact that this boy has been assisting and performing surgeries for three years (since he was 12?!) is wrong on so many levels.

First (and most straitlaced) of all), we do now have medical schools which are a requirement to be a doctor (nevermind a surgeon!). These medical school provide the most current knowledge available in medicine. Let's just assume that the father in this situation is about 35-40. That means he went to medical school at least 10 years ago, followed by his internship and residency. Even if he does spend all his time reading the current journals and keeping up with the cutting edge technologies, nobody has enough time in their day to follow everything.

Second, who's to say that this father isn't passing on bad practices to his son? There are quality
controls that go on in med schools and teaching hospitals and supervision by both the attending and resident for each intern, in addition to peer supervision.

Third, and in my mind one of the most important issues, I don't think that a 15 year old would necessarily have the maturity for this. 15 year olds should be out with their friends, crushing on pretty girls/boys, doing homework, and working through the mega-dose of hormones that adolescence gives them. Most teenagers haven't experienced enough of life to really understand, or consider all the implications of, these life and death circumstances. Granted, teens who have lost close family or who have had a life threatening disease themselves might have more reserves of understanding. But with all of the hormonal issues going on already (first loves, self esteem, building a unique sense of identity), I'm convinced that surgery would only add another layer of problems. How would an adolescent deal with having been responsible for a patient dying? It's hard enough for adult doctors to deal with this, let alone a 15 year old. And if it didn't bother them, then what does that say about their emotional development that they've learned so early to be so callous?

Fourth, what pregnant woman in her right mind would allow a 15 year old to do a caesarian on her? No matter how much faith you have in the father as a doctor to supervise the surgery, wouldn't any mother want the best for their child? What if there had been complications created by the 15 year old's technique? And if she didn't know that he would be performing the surgery, how can the father justify that deception? Unless all she wanted was to be the patient listed in the Guiness Book of World Records who had the youngest ever surgeon to operate on her.

It sounds like the father has a serious problem with understanding reality. He says that his son was just handing him instruments. But if that were the case, WHY was he trying to submit the video as an example of the youngest surgeon to perform a caesarian? That seems a bit fishy to me. The investigation will bear it out, I suppose. The fact that the father believes that the censure he has received is due to jealousy just shows how disconnected from reality he is. The fact that he can't understand the ethical and legal ramifications of allowing a 15 year old to (help) perform a surgery speaks volumes for his state of mind - he wouldn't hesitate to do it in the future since he doesn't understand why everyone is reacting badly to it.

I don't know what the Indian process of medical censure is, but I certainly hope that he goes through it and comes to realize the true problems with his behavior.

1 comment:

The Lethological Reader said...

It gets worse! http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21942414-23109,00.html