“Change is the only thing that does not change” were words of immense prophecy. Everything in this universe is changing and that applies equally well to the living and non-living beings, concepts and even ideologies. Illation can be that anything which refuses to change is bound to go under the carpet of time. Yet we have the so-called professional ethics that have not changed much with flow of time in certain vital professions. Technology is changing everyday and industry is readily following it. Roles, responsibilities and ethics of job functions in industry and business have undergone rapid changes in the last few decades. In fact, what and how a Project Manager or Project Engineer performs in an industrial environment has undergone drastic changes. If they had insisted on written approvals or decisions a decade back, the same things can be got done by an e-mail or sms now. And we have even introduced sanctions on countries or companies that deal with undesirable business and technology purely on the basis of ethics.
Yet two of the most important professions have not changed much and least of all are their ethics. Professional ethics lie at the very foundations of a profession and if there are no changes therein all other changes are merely superficial. One of the key factors that make a profession noble is the ethics associated with it. When we refer to a profession as noble, we mean the profession is of very high moral quality, dignified and of high eminence. Two of the professions that have always qualified for this status are the medical and legal ones. Quite unfortunately, the basic ethics of these professions have remained stagnant and it is causing great erosion to their value. The basic ethics for these two professions are:-
· Treating anyone who needs medical help
· Advocating for anyone who seek legal assistance
The advent of organised terrorism has changed everything in the civilised world and there is no way we can go forward with such blind virtues.
Ethics of Doctors
Medicines and techniques used by doctors have undergone tremendous change in the last one century. The nature and extent of change have been unimaginable in certain specialised fields like surgery and psychiatrics. But the basic premises on which a doctor offers his services has remained unchanged especially in the case of the so-called modern medicine viz. allopathy. While a village doctor practising native medicine might refuse to treat a killer or rapist, the modern doctor will not even think twice if his or her services are ‘ordered’ for a fee. Of late, his / her only concern may be more about the HIV status of the patient and the associated risk factor for the doctor. None of the modern five-star hospitals and doctors will show any semblance of conscience while helping out the most undeserving. If there is money, even confirmed terrorists are treated as VIPs in an allopathic hospital.
Ethics of modern medicine is becoming all the more critical because of the evolving legislations and medical advancement in organ transplantation. If there is enough money there are many doctors who would be willing to ‘mistreat’ someone or steal organs or treat terrorists without any qualms. Terrorists kill innocents for no rhyme or reason and those doctors who are willing to heal their wounds forget the heinous act committed by them. The reason given is always about the professional ethics of a doctor to treat anyone who needs his help. But does a terrorist deserve any sympathy or help like that? That should be the question upper most in the minds of professional bodies of doctors in this modern era. Terrorism and terrorists are the most visible symbols of 21st century, and every profession must consider it while debating their ethics.
Ethics of Lawyers
The degeneration of lawyer’s has been the most significant among all the noble professions. One of the prime reasons for the same is its unchanging ethics in a fast changing world. In olden days when the technicalities and logic of dispensing justice in a civilised society were unknown to the uneducated, it made sense to defend any one before a court of law irrespective of the merit of the case. But it is no more so in the modern world. The terrorists are no more uneducated and primitive. In most cases they know more about technology, techniques and legalities than the lawmen. Does it make anymore sense to defend confirmed criminals in a court of law only on the basis of professional ethics? Do the terrorists, traitors and rapists deserve the services of a lawyer at the State’s expense? These are some of the questions that the civilised society in every country should ask their own self. Any more delay in starting this debate will only make our condition more and more miserable.
In India, we witnessed several cases were miscarriage of natural justice did take place as a direct result of the expired ethics driving a noble profession. Defending the known devils is equally undesirable as refusing to defend the innocent. The lawyer must first convince himself of the merit of his case. And the merit must be only that of justice for the wronged and not escape routes for the wrongdoers. But the current breed of lawyers is doing exactly the opposite. More young lawyers are taking up cases of highly paying criminals under the lame excuse of keeping the ethics of their profession, the real reason being the enormous amount of fees offered by the filthy rich criminals. The infamous case of a school teacher getting hacked to death in front of his very young students and the killers going scot-free thanks to the brilliancy of unscrupulous lawyers should be very disturbing one for any civilised society.
Whatever needs reform must get reformed. There should be nothing like an eternal concept except for the concept of God. The need for reforms in the professional ethics of doctors and lawyers is long overdue. Confirmed criminals must not get any assistance of lawyers and cruel killers wounded by the self defence attempts of their victims must not get medical assistance on the basis of a wrong interpretation of professional ethics. Lawyers and doctors must use their discretion in taking up cases. It is definitely not unbecoming of a civilised world to shun criminals and letting cruel killers to die with out any sort of medical or legal help. Any contradictory signals will only encourage the growth of terrorism and extremism.