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Does being a medical student (or doctor) impose a moral duty to set a good example? watch

  • View Poll Results: Do you feel there is a particularly moral duty for medical students in either area?
    Yes to both
    7
    14.58%
    Yes to lifestyle, no to donation
    7
    14.58%
    No to lifestyle, yes to donation
    3
    6.25%
    No to both
    7
    14.58%
    Eh/maybe/it's complicated
    6
    12.50%
    Moral duties stop at fitness to practice issues
    9
    18.75%
    F*** off
    9
    18.75%

    • Thread Starter
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    A little poll in the student BMJ BMA newsletter got me thinking. Does being (hopefully) a future doctor, and hence knowing what we know about the importance of such issues, and/or being in a position where we may indirectly influence our patients by the choices we've made, lead to any specific moral duty in regards to the following:

    1) Lifestyle choices, e.g. not smoking, not drinking to excess too often, having a decent diet, getting enough exercise?

    2) Giving blood, registering as a bone marrow donor, registering as an organ donor etc?

    EDIT: Apologies if this poll is a tad crude/simplistic about this.
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    6
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    As long as I do my job well and am safe, why should you care what I do what I do in my own time?

    Doctors are human too
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    16
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    Interesting :beard:

    In a way I can see this way of thinking. Why would you take your doctors advice to stop smoking, for example, if you saw them outside having a fag on your way home? Or their advice to eat a better diet if they weighed 20 stone?

    At the same time what I do in my own time is my business.

    I think that most people meet the 2nd point. At least in my lecture about organ donation, only 1 or 2 were not registered organ donors and at the marrow clinics run in the med school they always have to close early due to over subscription.
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    Do you ask your bank manager if he's invested all his savings wisely? Or a policeman if he's ever gone over the speed limit?

    I agree with Bloody_student - I think what I do in my own time is up to me. And I think we give up quite enough of our lives for medicine, without being "morally obligated" to give up our organs, bone marrow, and blood too (tho I am signed up to donate all of those, voluntarily).
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    I shouldn't really have compressed two very different moral questions (1 and 2) into the same poll here, but never mind. The first and foremost moral duties of any doctor are plainly those to do with being a good doctor. But "being human" does not remove all moral issues in behaviour; it's a part of being human to care about how our actions influence others.

    With regards to lifestyle choices, a doctor places a person in a position where they may be a role model to others (similarly to being a parent or teacher, about whom the same moral question might be posed). Tobacco companies have known this for a long time:



    The blood/bone marrow/organ donation question is a tad different. Such choices are more private, so the role model argument doesn't apply. The argument from knowledge does not specifically apply to medical students and doctors very well, in my opinion, since anyone else aware of the need in these regards would be placed in a similar moral position, and plenty of people are aware of these needs. So here, it's less of a specific moral responsibility; unless, since our ability to do our jobs and help patients may depend on such donors, it becomes a matter of loyalty to our patients and perhaps the medical professions in general besides.

    EDIT: I'm quite interested by the spread of responses to this poll so far - no clear winner at all.
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    (Original post by Becca-Sarah)
    Do you ask your bank manager if he's invested all his savings wisely? Or a policeman if he's ever gone over the speed limit?

    I agree with Bloody_student - I think what I do in my own time is up to me. And I think we give up quite enough of our lives for medicine, without being "morally obligated" to give up our organs, bone marrow, and blood too (tho I am signed up to donate all of those, voluntarily).
    QFT
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    One thing I have noticed is that you aren't really allowed any bad days or social slip ups as a doc, it's not like a cop who is allowed to have an attitude, or a cashier being a bit moody - you are expected to present yourself almost like a waiter at a michelin star restaurant; permanently bright, friendly, smiley and polite.

    I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it can get tiring, especially when confronted by particularly obnoxious patients. The backlash agains the "old school" rude and arrogant doctor might be a little extreme and dogmatic tbh, I prefer doctors who are natural, act themselves, are generally friendly and patient but aren't doormats.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    QFT
    :confused:
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    (Original post by JordanCarroll)
    :confused:
    quoted for truth
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    (Original post by John Locke)
    quoted for truth
    Danke
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    (Original post by John Locke)
    quoted for truth
    I was going for Quite F***ing True...
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    (Original post by Becca-Sarah)
    Do you ask your bank manager if he's invested all his savings wisely? Or a policeman if he's ever gone over the speed limit?

    I agree with Bloody_student - I think what I do in my own time is up to me. And I think we give up quite enough of our lives for medicine, without being "morally obligated" to give up our organs, bone marrow, and blood too (tho I am signed up to donate all of those, voluntarily).
    -in life i'll do what the hell i like
    -in death I feel boliged to continue my work or helping people. ergo donor.

    But already joined register and have donated bone marrow
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    34 people have voted, I wasn't aware that we had that many medics...
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    (Original post by Renal)
    34 people have voted, I wasn't aware that we had that many medics...
    It's a lot easier for a lurker to answer a poll than actually post anything.

    Looking at the five-day results, it seems the "no"s have it by a narrow margin, with more than half of the 41 respondants so far selecting one of the three negative responses to the question. I was a tad undecided myself when I posted this - obviously, these are things we should all do, but I wasn't sure how specifically morally loaded they were for us as docs. I'm still personally leaning in the direction of there being a bit of a specific responsibility, but it isn't that much more than for anybody else, and, as has been argued here already, we're human too.

    Now, back to actually getting some work done.
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    I'm not a medic but I do have an interest in medicine shows (yeah don't slate me). I was watching that Junior Doctors thing on BBC3 and with regards to the rather overweight rugby playing doctor I kept on thinking that although he is a doctor some people might take his advice with a pinch of salt because he doesn't practice what he preaches.

    While he was doing the 'emergency response/on call' role I also thought that his weight would maybe impact the care of a patient if he was the only doctor on call - yes it sounds horrible but he is a big guy and it will take him a while to run to the patient and then he was visibly out of breath while on the scene.
 
 
 
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