Different strokes, Different rules

Are some people more different than others?

Should some people be treated differently because of their profession or calling? Should laws be different because of the special occupation that some people have.

The recent conviction of Jayant Patel raises this interesting question.  Holding doctors to account for their behaviour has been problematic in the past for may reasons. When an attack on a member of the medical profession has occurred the profession has had a tradition of closing ranks. Even in cases of mis-conduct it has often been difficult for the victim due to the difficulties of proving the accusation. Doctors have often been treated as above suspicion when in truth they are no more or less capable of incompetence and indeed malicious acts as any other person. This has been a landmark case and my question is, why should this be so when if it was any other profession it would have been fairly straight forward.

Take for instance a situation where you were driving recklessly. You were already banned in another country from driving because of repeated convictions for dangerous driving. You came to Australia got your licence and went out on the road and drove in such a way that a number of people were seriously injured and some were even killed. Pretty straight forward you say?

What if you were a builder and your building license was revoked due to incompetence. You then came to Australia got your builders licence and then proceeded to build sub standard houses. One of these houses collapsed and killed several people and it was clearly due to your sub standard building practices.

These two examples are clear cases of criminal negligence. However in the case of Patell it proved a “landmark case”.  In my opinion no one should be above the law. What is good for one should be good for all. If indeed it is the case that Patell was banned from performing these procedures in another country due to his incompetence, and that it was due to his behaviour that resulted in the injuries and deaths of his patients then let justice be done and let the law deal equally with all.

There should be nothing special about the medical profession that should allow them to burry their mistakes. Too long have this section of society been protected by the walls they have constructed from bearing the responsibilities of their incompetence. We allow second rate professionals get away with unprofessional behaviour by not holding them accountable.


Now the AMA have weighed into the debate.  After years of coverups, closed ranks and incompetence being rewarded the AMA are now blaming the government. If there is indeded a backlash then the AMA only have themselves to blame. More openness and accountability in the profession would have prevented this from ever happening.