October, 25 2013 09:33:00

Medical ethics on alert

This week, a 39-year-old woman in Ha Noi died on the operating table while undergoing a breast enhancement procedure.

The doctor who performed the operation was arrested for allegedly dumping her body in the river, touching a nerve across the entire nation and raising a major alert on medical ethics, which seem to be deteriorating.

In August, Ha Noi Police also prosecuted ten health officials from Hoai Duc Hospital in Hoai Duc District for duplicating around 1,000 blood-test results for up to 2,000 patients, potentially having major consequences on the patients' health, particularly in terms of disease diagnosis and treatment.

The nation is in a crisis; with residents losing their trust in doctors and hospitals, fearing they may do more harm than good.

Vietnamese medical students have to swear the Hippocratic Oath in schools, but other than that, the lack of medical ethics has not been properly addressed in Viet Nam.

In many developed countries, doctors have to pass an ethics test before they are licensed and hospitals have their own codes of ethics.

What's the situation in your country? Are doctors required to pass an ethics test or do your hospitals have ethics codes for doctors? Do you think a mandatory ethics test would lead to more morality in the medical profession?

Please reply by email to: opinion@vnsmail.com, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 79 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, October 31, 2013. — VNS

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