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Antinomies of Medical Ethics

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into public focus the ambivalent nature of the relationship between the health workers and doctors, and the patients and the general public. The relationship appears ambivalent when understood against the common perception, which holds health workers, especially doctors, in high esteem. Health workers, in general, and doctors, in particular, enjoy a high status because they use their knowledge for curing the ailing person and saving human lives. It is this power of knowledge along with the ethical commitment to their profession that makes the general public and patients respect doctors. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the health workers have been rightly described as “corona warriors.” The doctors, nurses and paramedical staff such as ASHA (accredited social health activist) workers, together with the police and journalists, have been confronting the dangers of the virus as front-line warriors.

However, the growing attacks on health workers during these trying and terrifying times have strained this relationship. Doctors, who otherwise are seen as lifesavers, are now seen as adversaries. Whatever may be the perceived grounds of such attacks, it is certain that such aggressive reaction lacks public ethics. Such ethics demand that common people should show their conscience and realise that it indeed is in the common interest of the public to support rather than suspect these health workers. It is the ethical responsibility of the people to respect the commitment of a large section of doctors who are ensuring the former’s security from the virus.

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