.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Heal Thy Self

As I approach the end of my sabbatical from Medical School, my thoughts wander towards this field I have chosen, which at times feels as if it has chosen me instead.

Because it is one thing when a person decides to follow in the footsteps of Hippocrates, a mixture of idealism, self-confidence, and yet also trepidation.

But it is quite another to follow in the footsteps of one's father.

Any person who enters what amounts to the family profession or trade, whether it is medicine, or plumbing, or race car driving, has big shoes they must step into, before one has even gotten started.

But with all due respect, I do believe that medicine is the hardest of them all, because of its very nature.

It's about saving lives, first, last, and foremost.

There is no greater responsibility in this world, than having the life of another sentient human being in your hands, who you can save, based solely on years of careful learning and depending on the scope of your intelligence -- illuminated by the light of God, I hurriedly bow humbly.

It's not for nothing, that they say medical doctors have God complexes.

I've felt it inside myself already, and the euphoria you get because of that power, alters your personality incrementally.

But you know, medicine isn't for everyone.

It is often said about the law, that no matter if you continue in the legal field or not, one can't go wrong with a law degree, because it's a stepping stone to other, sometimes more important paths, as well.

That is true for medicine, although in the English-speaking world, we don't often find medical doctors who chuck their profession, to pursue another, as readily as one can with lawyers.

But around the world, the study of medicine is more devalued.

How could it be otherwise, since medicine is started from the first day of one's University career, at the tender age of around 18 -- unthinkable by North American standards.

Engineering is where the cachet is at in other countries, not medicine, and thus, people have less compunction to turn away from this hallowed profession, to pursue other goals.

All of this, you might think, is all very well and fine, but where are you going with it?

It is just that I was thinking of this very fact, when I found out the day his latest repulsive video came out on Al-Jezeera, when I learnt to my UTTER UTTER horror, that Ayman Al-Zawahiri is, by profession, a medical doctor.

Think of it.

A man who has sworn a sacred oath to preserve human life, has been the logistical mastermind of Al-Qaeda, going on two decades now.

How does this happen?

I simply cannot get my head around this fact.

It repels me, but fascinates me at the same dastardly time.

It all boils down to one question, which cannot go unasked:

Do I have this hatred of humanity inside me too? Am I capable of using the knowledge, and thereto, the power of healing, to transform this into the power to destroy wantonly, the very same lives I have sworn to make healthy?

And the answer is surely, starkly, unequivocally, yes.

No matter what your attachment to your medical profession is, one is human, and therefore, capable of great evil.

It may be too damning to the greatest number, to judge by the actions of a relative few, but if nothing else, this fact is a cautionary tale for humanity.

People are not transformed by education. They are merely enhanced by it.

If the soul is ugly, no amount of smarts, of compassion and reason will cure that.

Below are 2 physicians who ultimately chose a path other than their original medical professions, and cut a very different swath than that of healing:

Ernesto "Che" Guevara



1928-1967


The iconic figure of his millieu since before his death, which many believe was ordered in collusion with Bolivian forces, by his old friend, "Dr." Fidel Castro, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was the brain behind "guerrilla warfare" which caused the deaths of untold thousands in Latin America, and displaced millions, desperate to escape his collusive reign of terror.

He personally executed those he considered to be "spies", or having suspect, anti-revolutionary leanings.

He completed his medical studies in 1953.


François Duvalier



1907-1971


This ex-director general of health services in Haiti was elected President of his country in 1957. Thus began a dictatorship of such unthinkable brutality, that it can barely be believed he was ever tied to any caring side of life at all.

Not only did he institute the Tonton Macoutes, a personally loyal, paramilitary group which served to terrorise the Haitian populace, but he betrayed the precepts of his profession, based on reason, logic, and humanity, by practising and encouraging ritualistic voodoo sacrifices, many of them human.

In this practise, he was ably seconded by his wife, Simone, who advertised herself as the head priestess of voodoo (called a mambo) in Haiti.

He became a medical doctor in 1934.


Below are some names, who it may surprise you to know, were also once medical doctors:

(I know they certainly surprised me)

Jane Addams - social(ist) activist

Maria Montessori — educator

Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925) - Founder of republican China

Juscelino Kubitscheck - Brazilian president

Ibrahim Al-Jaffari - Prime minister of Iraq

Iyad Allawi - interim Prime Minister of Iraq

Salvador Allende - Chilean president

Sir William Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame)

Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) - French statesman


And some names I had known were once medical doctors, but maybe others do not:


Nostradamus — French mystic

Sócrates — Brazilian soccer player

W. G. Grace — cricketer (our Babe Ruth equivalent)

Bashar Al-Assad - President of Syria (he's an Opthamologist, in case of interest)

Should I take my medical degree, but choose to pursue another career path later, it seems I will be in either very distinguished, or noxious company, indeed.

7 Comments:

  • No Victoria, you have a LOVE of humanity inside you and it is obvious in your writings. If you become a doctor your "bedside manner" will be top notch!

    Che Guevara might not ever even have been a doctor like all the communist propaganda says. The following is from an article by Humberto Fontova:

    As for the rest of Time's assertions, other than his competence at murdering bound, gagged and blindfolded men, Che Guevara failed spectacularly at everything he attempted in his life. First he failed as Argentine medical student. Though he's widely described as a medical doctor by his hagiographers (Castaneda, Anderson, Taibo, Kalfon) no record exists of Guevara's medical degree. When Cuban-American researcher Enrique Ros inquired of the Rector of the University of Buenos Aires and the head of its Office of Academic Affairs for copies or proof of said document, Ros was variously told that the records had been misplaced or perhaps stolen. [4]

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Sat Feb 04, 08:16:00 am GMT-5  

  • My goodness, Victoria, the enormity of what confronts you is how to apply your gifts to the betterment of people and to keep from running from it in those few lonely, quiet moments when what you can give overwhelms even you.
    That and deciding from what path to apply it.

    Sorry, no right to say that. I keep wanting to say, something profound, as the subject requires. I just think this. You will do good on earth; the antithesis of Mengele.
    Selfishly? I hope you stay here and write for us through the rest of my life. Better? Speak, so I can hear that accent. Best? :)

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Feb 04, 10:16:00 am GMT-5  

  • No Victoria, you have a LOVE of humanity inside you and it is obvious in your writings.

    Yes. Admittedly, I love people.

    If you become a doctor your "bedside manner" will be top notch!

    If so, I inherited that straight from my dad -- whose bedside manner is THE BEST I have ever seen.

    Not for nothing do his old Cubanitos come to give him little presents, like empanadas de carne, and boliche -- even when they don't have an appointment!

    And in El Dia del Doctor (sometime in December, IIRC), dad really racks up the presents. ;)

    (BTW, I love older people, and I thought I could do best as a gerontologist -- we'll see. Because it won't be the WWII generation which I will treat...but the Vietnam one)

    Che Guevara might not ever even have been a doctor like all the communist propaganda says. The following is from an article by Humberto Fontova:

    I saw that, yes. That's why I carefully wrote what was in the Wikipedia article. "He completed his medical studies in 1953", which doesn't make mentioning of actually receiving his degree.

    It is not automatic. It must be accorded by your University and they can withold it, if they have their reasons, or you fail in some category.

    As for the rest of Time's assertions, other than his competence at murdering bound, gagged and blindfolded men, Che Guevara failed spectacularly at everything he attempted in his life. First he failed as Argentine medical student. Though he's widely described as a medical doctor by his hagiographers (Castaneda, Anderson, Taibo, Kalfon) no record exists of Guevara's medical degree. When Cuban-American researcher Enrique Ros inquired of the Rector of the University of Buenos Aires and the head of its Office of Academic Affairs for copies or proof of said document, Ros was variously told that the records had been misplaced or perhaps stolen. [4]

    Oh suuuuuuuure. Of course they were burnt...

    BTW, this is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's dad right?

    I met him one time at a supermarket in Coral Gables (!), and he couldn't have been more down-to-earth. A really nice guy.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 04, 12:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • My goodness, Victoria, the enormity of what confronts you is how to apply your gifts to the betterment of people and to keep from running from it in those few lonely, quiet moments when what you can give overwhelms even you.
    That and deciding from what path to apply it.


    But that's beautifully said, Paul. Don't knock your powers of writing!

    Sorry, no right to say that. I keep wanting to say, something profound, as the subject requires. I just think this. You will do good on earth; the antithesis of Mengele.

    I believe he was a student of archeology as well as being a Dr. MD (as it is referred to in Germany).

    He had more "love" of bones, than of human flesh...

    Selfishly? I hope you stay here and write for us through the rest of my life. Better? Speak, so I can hear that accent. Best? :)

    Jacuzzi-cam!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 04, 12:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Watch Animal Planet this weekend and I'm sure you'll feel better and put things in perspective.

    (nothing like puppies and kittens for mood control)

    I'm not attempting to solve or diminish the dillemma you face. All I can offer is sympathy, I have no insights to impart.

    However, I suspect whichever path you choose you'll be a shining beacon for those around you.

    (but not in a 'Shining Path' sort of way)

    (seems like this thread has been two parts med student fretting and commiseration, one part denouncing Maoist/Marxist)

    By Blogger XWL, at Sat Feb 04, 01:26:00 pm GMT-5  

  • But that's beautifully said, Paul. Don't knock your powers of writing!

    I'll trade you. Yours floor me. Even more, in your mind, over such a short time, you've amassed so much more to work with.

    Jacuzzi-cam!

    I suppose there is a first time for everything

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Feb 04, 01:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • You'll be fine, because you want to be. The old saying about good manners applies here: If you don't have good manners, pretend you do, it's the same thing.

    Pretend you're as good a doctor as your dad.


    Those were some nasty names. According to that magnificent historian from that awful pile of rocks and coal in the North Sea you used to inhabit -- Paul Johnson -- Idi Amin used to dabble in medicine; he learned by looking at x-rays to dismember people and eat them, including one of his wives, I think.

    Then there's an obvious one you missed:

    Mengele

    Yikes.

    By Blogger SippicanCottage, at Sun Feb 05, 01:02:00 am GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Who linked Here:

Create a Link

<< Home


 




Advertise on blogs
British Expat Blog Directory.