The other day in my surgery class we were discussing ethics in medical practice. Issues such as draping a patient while maintaining their privacy, receiving honest consents, and most important of all, developing a conscience. The professor spent almost an hour relating incidents of malpractice and improper documentation that caused physicians to lose their licenses. He spoke of health professionals stealing narcotics from the Praxis drawer and either abusing the drugs or selling them. Several stories of residents discussing personal patient information in public places were mentioned, while a cruel tale of a physician marketing cheap mattresses and expensive air compression beds to nursing homes was related to us. The take home message at the end of the day was to be aware that a false step can cause a physician to lose their career, and that as medical students we should begin to develop a conscience regarding these issues. Now, this sounded a bit silly to me. As Muslims, the first thing we learned as we grew up was that Allah SWT is watching us. Remember that story about the three brothers who had to hide the item from their father, and whoever was able to successfully hide it from anyone was the winner? It doesn’t matter whether the version you learned involved hiding a chicken or a chocolate bar, the end result is the same. The third brother confessed that he could not hide it from anyone because Allah is everywhere. One of my earliest memories is of a sticky note on the fridge that read “Allahu nazaeri, Allahu shateri, Allahu mutala 3alay” (Allah is the One who sees me, Allah is the One who is next to me, Allah is the One who knows everything about me). We read it, memorized it, and practiced  it. It was not something taught in school, but eventually became an instinct. What baffles me is how people can stoop so low and risk their careers just for some extra cash. It takes at least eight years of schooling to become a physician, plus a minimum three years of residency. How are you willing to risk all of that just to increase your bank account? Allah SWT is the one who provides, and no one should be giving up their integrity and honesty for whatever reason. These issues that were drilled into us as part of our religion, are some topics that people need to actually review in school! We know that even when we think we are alone, in reality we are not. We don’t need to have an attending standing next to us so we can properly sanitize our stethoscopes or change our gloves from patient to patient. It is not necessary for us to have the security camera recording us as we dispense patients’ medications from the drawer. We are not waiting for Medicare to send a representative to audit our charges to ensure that we are not billing for treatment that was never performed. Developing a conscience is part of our deen, and with that, inshaAllah we will be the best and most honest of physicians, and are already a step ahead of everyone else 🙂

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