Doctors’ Arrests

The Elephant in the RoomIt is hard to know what to make of the recent arrests of the Indian and Iraqi doctors.

The foreign press in particular express some surprise that the presumed terrorists are neither ignorant nor uneducated and this is briefly echoed in some of the UK reporting. We should remember though that Mohammad Sidique Khan was neither ignorant nor uneducated. He seemed to be the epitome of a well integrated, westernised muslim right up until the point where he set off the Edgeware Road bomb on 7/7.

But this is more middle class, closer to home. What is so hard to assimilate is that these are doctors working for the NHS. They are proximate: as with the McCanns, as with Christopher Janaway and Matthew O’Donnell who were killed on the M25 in May, there’s only a degree or so of separation. They are trained as scientists; they should not be influenced by ignorant, rabble-rousing muslim clerics. Most confusingly of all, these are men dedicated to saving lives, not taking them. While I find it comprehensible that someone should feel sufficiently powerless, threatened and angry to commit indiscriminate acts of terrorism (or “resistance” as it was termed in war-time France) I find it almost impossible to comprehend that doctors should do that.

It seems that I am not alone. The Telegraph is running a predictable leader entitled “Muslims must raise their voices in anger“. Well yes. But why aren’t they running one entitled “Doctors must raise their voices in anger”?

The GMC, the BMA and Remedy are noticeably silent on the subject. So are all of the medical blogs that I’ve read recently. This is presumably because it is just too alien to understand. It is unsettling and challenging that people we are used to trusting could do this, and I suspect that the Medical community simply cannot comprehend that one of their own, eight of their own, could do such a thing.

This leaves me with so many questions about assumptions, prejudice and denial that I don’t know where to start.


11 responses to “Doctors’ Arrests

  1. If you read the medical blog Tea at Ten, it’s mentioned there by Milk and Two Sugars. She’s Australian, bizarre that folk on another continent raise it when, as you say, it’s seemingly a silent issue within the medical conscience ‘pon our shores.

  2. Proves my point, rather. I suspect that there are some interesting conversations on Doctors.Net though. But I do wish some of ours would break ranks and – in the words of the Telegraph – “raise their voices in anger”.


  3. This morning the president of the Swedish Medical Association was interviewed in one of the most respected morning news rooms at one of the major radio channels.She very clearly stated her condempt and despair and also condemned the alleged doctors/ med students involved. In the interview she also presumed a denouncing reaction from BMA

    This is just the direct opposite of what we are taught to do “primum est non nocere – above all do no harm” . The ethical rules of SMA are mandatory, if you don’t adhere to them you’re expelled.

  4. I’ve been agonising about this issue too: the unemployed, undereducated and marginalised I can understand somewhat, but doctors? Doctors? These people witness and experience suffering on a daily basis and would never get to where they were if they didn’t have a modicum of compassion for the patients they came in contact with. Surely they must understand better than most what burning petrol can do to the human body? Surely they must have realised that small children could be among their intended victims?

    How did they rationalise this in their heads? Did they do it from a position of injustice? Was it their religious upbringing that warped their minds? Did they hate the people they helped to nurse back to health?

  5. Well we offically denounced terrorism on hour morning ward round today..

    We’re just starting to talk about it at work today. Yesterday we were all too stunned.

  6. So what did I do there?

    Try here.

  7. I suspect that there are some interesting conversations on Doctors.Net

    Not really . . . seems pretty quiet (although I find the navigation through their forums ghastly so could easily have missed many).

  8. The amazing thing is not that doctors would deal in death — forgive me, but history is full of murderous doctors. It’s that they went through such an extensive course of training to prepare for a brutal, simple act. This wasn’t a doctor’s sort of crime.

    And, as someone mentioned above — good lord, not to know what serious burns are like!

  9. No mystery if they are militant Islamists. Some of the Middle Eastern jihadist sites were gloating “Those who cure you will kill you”. [Doctors quite often do, whether intentionally or inadvertently!]

  10. Thank you Shrink. I don’t think it’s so bizarre that Australians were mentioning it first; I do think that the profession here were in denial and distancing themselves for the first part of this week. Though I have heard of at least one Senior commenting that “you Juniors really cannot get anything right these days, not even blowing up cars”. Shame that they aren’t even discussing it on Doctors.Net.

    Dragonqueen, that is the sort of clear statement that has been completely lacking from medical bodies in the UK.

    Woodpigeon, I think they justify it in the same way that anyone does; they did it for The Cause.

    Ineresting, the way it takes time for these things to sink in Z.

    Thanks for the pertinant link Potentilla. Again, that is exactly what every doctor should have been saying.

    S Weasel – you are so right: The BMJ has an interesting summary of just how murderous the medical profession actually is: – Serial homicide by doctors: Shipman in perspective.

    But we missed the warning anticant. As the Now Show put it, we’d have undersood the warning if they had said “Those who tell yoU that they are not quite sure what you’ve got and are convinced it is probably nothing but will send ou for further tests anyway will kill you”.

    Thanks all, for reading and for comforting.


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