Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hippocratic Oath

Aussie docs call for rewards after MAS incident

MELBOURNE: An Australian doctor left her family to attend to three sick passengers on a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight to Kuala Lumpur.

As a reward, she wanted an upgrade but MAS said no. And Dr Matilda Metledge has shot off a bill to MAS for services rendered.

Her actions have now sparked a debate over whether doctors should be rewarded for providing services during flights.

The Australian Doctor magazine reported that Dr Metledge had to leave her young family to attend to an elderly man and a woman who were vomiting, as well as another who was causing a disturbance, on her flight.

After being given toiletries and pyjamas for her services, Dr Metledge asked for an upgrade but was refused.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is asking international airlines to provide incentives for doctors whose travels are ruined by treating fellow passengers.

AMA public health committee chairman Assoc Prof John Gullotta told the Herald Sun newspaper he also had three recent flights ruined because he had to treat passengers, and felt airlines were taking doctors for granted.

It is a bit unfair to expect doctors trying to get away on holiday to be always available and render assistance,” he was quoted as saying.

“Obviously we have to do that as part of our Hippocratic Oath and sense of well being, but the airlines have to take a bit more responsibility.

“On most flights, you are going to have at least one doctor there. So by having an incentive upfront and saying that if you want to be on call, you can have an upgrade or be paid for the time you are on call, every one else can relax.”

AMA suggested airlines adopt a process where doctors could declare themselves when buying a ticket and state whether they would like to be on call or not.

But Medical Error Action Group spokesman Lorraine Long told the newspaper that treating sick people was a doctor’s obligation, not something to do for a reward.

“If you are a doctor travelling on a plane and you help someone, isn’t a ‘Thank you’ sufficient?” she said.

MAS officials could not be reached for comment. – Bernama

Wow! That is what a DOCTOR called... pathetic!

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