Angry Doctor

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ethics and Evidence

angry doc received the form for the Ministry's "Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices Survey on HIV Infection and AIDS (2009)" in the mail today, and as you can see from the photo above (angry doc does not own a scanner) the last question in the survey is quite a poser.

On the surface the question may look like one of ethics (or worse, morality), but in reality it is more one of legalities - and the two may not always be the same.

angry doc believes that the question is left deliberately vague as it is meant to assess the respondent's attitude and belief rather than his or her knowledge - there isn't enough information about the young doctor's job to determine if his status does indeed "impact on his work".

The cover letter to the survey states that the purpose of this survey is to help "refine and enhance our national HIV prevention and control policies". While angry doc is flattered to have been invited to respond (along with all "registered doctors, dentists and nurses in Singapore"), he wonders if policies, which will no doubt translate to laws and code of ethics, should be determined by the attitudes and beliefs of the healthcare workers, or whether they should be guided by what we know about HIV and its transmission.

angry doc invites all healthcare workers who have received the survey form to read through it and note their responses to the questions, and then read this article, and see if their responses change.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Morning


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Never mind if it was an exorcism, stupid

Finally, a verdict to the '(not) exorcism' case we looked at last year:

Court dismisses Novena Church exorcism case
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: The High Court has thrown out the exorcism case against the priests and volunteers at Novena Church, after a trial spanning two years.

In a 61-page judgement on Friday, Justice Lee Seiu Kin held that Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan had not proved her case against the defendants for assault and battery, false imprisonment and negligence.

He accepted the defendants' version of events on the night of 10 August 2004 and found the contradictory parts of Madam Amutha Valli's evidence to be false.

Justice Lee also ruled that he did not find the actions of the priests had caused Madam Amutha Valli to suffer any damage.

In her statement of claim, Madam Amutha Valli had claimed special and aggravated damages.

Justice Lee also held, based on doctors' evidence, that Madam Amutha Valli did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the events at the church.

The case was heard over two periods at the Supreme Court, in October and November 2007 and in June and July last year, and received much public attention.

In his judgement, Justice Lee said both the defendants' and Madam Amutha Valli's versions of the case were equally bizarre.

He ruled that Madam Amutha Valli's story was a chilling tale of late-night abduction by fanatics bent on driving out imaginary spirits from her.

The version of the priests and volunteers from Novena Church was that Madam Amutha Valli had been brought to the church by her family members who claimed she was possessed and they requested for a priest to pray over her.

But Justice Lee found the evidence of the defendants' witnesses to be consistent and carried "the ring of truth".

Madam Amutha Valli's witnesses, namely her children (Subashini, Jairaj) and family friend (Resham Singh), tried to "gloss over" embarrassing facts about her life, said Justice Lee.

Lawyers will next address Justice Lee on the question of legal costs which are expected to be very substantial.

The two priests involved in the case were away when Channel NewsAsia visited Novena Church on Friday evening.

But through his lawyer, Father Simon Tan said he's "relieved and vindicated".

Church-goers welcomed the judgement. "I have confidence in them and I will continue to have confidence in the priests here," said a church-goer.

"We will grow more. We will have more faith in our Catholic life and we believe in our priests deeply," said another.

Mr R S Bajwa, Madam Amutha Valli's lawyer, said he was disappointed with the outcome, and plans to discuss with his client whether she wishes to appeal.

Well, at least the court recognised the fact that "both the defendants' and [plaintiff's] versions of the case were equally bizarre".

angry doc is glad that Father Tan feels "relieved", but he is a little disturbed that he should feel "vindicated" at the same time.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rough Week

Monday, February 02, 2009

Good Morning

(No, this version doesn't suck!)