Friday, August 19, 2011

Doctor or Politician?

Dr. Kellie Leitch is not the first doctor to dabble in politics. The recently retired Keith Martin tried to blend the two professions. But the Harper government's refusal to acknowledge that asbestos is a hazardous substance puts Dr. Leitch between a rock and a hard place. And it requires that she make a decision which cannot split the difference.

The Huffington Post reports that the medical profession has sent her a letter, demanding that she uphold her commitment to the Hippocratic oath:

The letter also notes the federal government has spent millions of dollars to remove asbestos from Canadian buildings in order to protect lives — including around the House of Commons.

It notes that the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Public Health Association and World Health Organization have all called for the use of asbestos to be stopped.

The Conservatives are notorious for making decisions which fly in the face of facts. But  Dr. Gilles Paradis, a professor of medicine at McGill and the editor of the Canadian Journal of Public Health, says:

As a physician, we're sure that she knows the incontrovertible evidence about the harm that chrysotile asbestos produces. We just want to remind her that she has a professional duty to live by the principles of the Hippocratic oath that as physicians we all are supposed to adhere to.

This is a true test of the good doctor's character.


Anonymous said...

She knew that when she ran. You can't be a conservative in Canada anymore and seriously say you care about the health and welfare of people. It isn't are not compatible with the goals of a neo-conservative government.

ck said...

I'm not sure. Depends who sent the letter, exactly, and how forceful. Ultimatum? It would have to come from whoever deals with medical licensing, and they would really have to threaten Kellie Leitch with the removal of her license to practise medicine for this to have any meaning whatsoever. Anything less would be meaningless. So, colour me unimpressed for the time being until I have more facts.

Also, if Kellie Leitch really cared about healing the sick, she would never have joined the Conservatives in the first place.

Also, to be noted, wouldn't she have stood up sooner to her own party's asbestos support? Like let's say cross the floor?

Owen Gray said...

I admit that, when she ran, I wondered if she had thought about the bind which she would inevitably have to live with.

So I have little sympathy for her. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if she does the right thing.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting, ck, that when Stephen Harper took over the leadership of the "new" Conservative Party, Keith Martin crossed the floor.

Perhaps being a physician and a Conservative MP is an oxymoron.