Friday, July 06, 2007

Doctors and Terrorists

The Glasgow car-ramming incident and the attempted car bombings in London have featured heavily in the news recently, even more so because the alleged perpetrators have been identified as doctors, and further links to doctors and health professionals in the UK and Australia are being pursued.

These were deplorable acts, and serve no positive purpose.

I am not really interested in commenting on these events, because I think that it says little about the medical profession.

I am, however compelled to comment on this opinion article by Dr Tanveer Ahmed: The Rough Road from Carer to Killer

I'm sure that Tanveer is a smart guy. He certainly does his share for the AMA and Doctors in Training. I lost his point a little though. Is he saying that there is a concrete link between doctors and terrorists or not? Does being a doctor make you more likely to be a terrorist?

A few examples of radicalised doctors mean nothing to me. Every few months I get a newsletter from the Medical Board describing cases of doctors who have made various ethical errors. Does that mean that being a doctor makes you unethical?

I suspect that he has no intention of implying that doctors are more likely to become radicalised, or that radicals are more likely to be Islamic - but that is how his article comes across. I think his purpose was merely to point out the ironic juxtaposition of a healer being a killer, but that message is lost in the rest of the text. In reality, I think all that he does is reinforce a social stereotype that you might see in a bad Hollywood movie.

As far as I am concerned, doctors are just people. And sometimes people do bad things. There you go.

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