Talk:/Medical Institutions in ancient india/Vaidyas/Professional Ethics

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
Revision as of 02:22, 1 February 2018 by Krishna Maheshwari (Talk | contribs) (Created page with "Professional Ethics   The medical profession was pursued as a means of ''living'' originally by the third class of Aryan society i e the Vaisyas. The Brahmana and the Ksatr...")

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Professional Ethics

 

The medical profession was pursued as a means of living originally by the third class of Aryan society i e the Vaisyas. The Brahmana and the Ksatriya learnt the science, the former for researches in the higher spheres of the knowledge and for the relief of humanity purely as a mission of compassion, the latter for the advancement of the science and for the protection of oneself and his dependants from disease.

 

Yet all the four castes were entitled to study the science of Ayurveda for general enlightenment in the matter of purity, health, happiness and longevity.

 

All may learn the science for the sake of a righteous and pure life.�

 

Though the professional Vaidya was making a living out of his profession and often fixed up the fees due to him in any particular undertaking, he yet had a code of ethics to observe. He treated the poor and the destitute, the maimed and the travellers and mendicants free of charge. Even in cases where there was no previous agreement as regards the fee, it was obligatory on the part of the patient to pay up his fees and discharge his debt to the physician. There was a widespread sentiment which obtains even today that among the debts that are particularly sinful if not paid, the physician's debt is one

 

The ideal, a part from the exigencies of the physician's profession as regards fees, was always to keep in view the principle of compassion and service for the fellow-men and Caraka lays down the ideal in unri�valled grandeur in the following verses.

Brahmana and the Ksatriya learnt the science, the former for researches in the higher spheres of the knowledge and for the relief of humanity purely as a mission of compassion, the latter for the advancement of the science and for the protection of oneself and his dependants from disease.

 

Yet all the four castes were entitled to study the science of Ayurveda for general enlightenment in the matter of purity, health, happiness and longevity.

 

All may learn the science for the sake of a righteous and pure life.�

 

Though the professional Vaidya was making a living out of his profession and often fixed up the fees due to him in any particular undertaking, he yet had a code of ethics to observe. He treated the poor and the destitute, the maimed and the travellers and mendicants free of charge. Even in cases where there was no previous agreement as regards the fee, it was obligatory on the part of the patient to pay up his fees and discharge his debt to the physician. There was a widespread sentiment which obtains even today that among the debts that are particularly sinful if not paid, the physician's debt is one

 

The ideal, a part from the exigencies of the physician's profession as regards fees, was always to keep in view the principle of compassion and service for the fellow-men and Caraka lays down the ideal in unri�valled grandeur in the following verses.

The Vaidya besides these accomplishments was required also to be a good polemic. If he were to meet and be interrogated by a fellow of the profession on any point of theory and practice, he must be able to meet him in discussion and if the opponent persists in carping at him, he should deal with him severely and subdue him by reproaches and repulses in satirical terms.

The Vaidya was enjoined to seek the aid of other members his class in diagnosis of different cases and in the determining prescriptions and their pharmaceutical preparation. He must� quarrel with the fellows of his profession. A general spirit geniality and kindliness and a supreme ambition to advance welfare of the people were demanded of him.��

Kasyapa says:

Lastly we observe that the one great preoccupation of the ancient physician was to find out whether a particular case that came to him was curable or incurable. A whole science of the signs and symptoms that prognosticated the favourable and the unfavourable trend of disease was laid out in order to enable physician to avoid the path to infamy and reproach by handling cases that were incurable by any measure. Many factors must have been behind such a dread of incurable cases. The fear of unpopularity and consequent fall in patronage was evidently one factor. But even more persuasive was perhaps the dread of state punishment or penalty if a physician was found to have been responsible for the death of a patient. A wise physician sometimes undertook treatment of even incurable cases only after declaring it to be such before the relatives of the patients and tried severe methods and measures with the permission of the relation and the state officials, in order to leave no stone unturned in saving the patient s life, while absolving himself of the responsi�bility of his failure.

 

On this subject of prognostics, there is a striking resemblance in the spirit behind the growth of the science between the works of Indian writers like Caraka and the Greek author of Medicine, Hippocrates.

 

Hippocrates says thus in the book of Prognostics:

�It appears to me a most excellent thing for the physician to cultivate Prognosis, for by foreseeing and foretelling in the presence of the sick, the present, the past, and the future, and explaining the omissions which patients have been guilty of, he will be the more readily believed to be acquainted with the circumstances of the sick; so that men will have confidence to entrust themselves to such a physician And he will manage the cure best who has foreseen what is to happen from the present state of matters For it is impossible to make all the sick well; this, indeed, would have been better than to be able to foretell what is going to happen, but since men die, some even before calling the physician, from the violence of the disease, and some die immediately after calling him, having lived, perhaps only one day or a little longer, and before the physician could bring his art to counteract the disease; it therefore becomes necessary to know the nature of such affections, how far they are above the powers of the constitution, and, moreover, if there be anything divine in the diseases, and to learn a foreknowledge of this also. Thus a man will be the more esteemed to be a good physician, for he will be the better able to treat those aright who can be saved, from having long anticipated everything, and by seeing and announcing beforehand those who will live and those who will die, he will thus escape censure."

�In as much as this work is entitled the Book of Prognostics; so it turns on the prescience that is to say, the fore-know ledge of the physician, which Hippocrates recommends to physi�cians for three reasons: first, for the confidence of mankind, which it will conciliate to the physician; then because it will free the practi�tioner from all blame, if he has announced beforehand the fatal result of diseases; and further, as being a very great instrument in effecting the cure.

But he who would wish to know properly beforehand those who will recover from a disease, and those who will die, and those in whom the disease will persevere for many days, and those in whom it will last for a few, should be able to comprehend and estimate the doctrine of all the signs, and weigh in his mind and compare together their strength. The Hippocratic foreknowledge rests not only on the observation of the signs, but also on the understanding of them.

First, to attract the confidence of one's patients; second free the physician from blame by enabling him to announce before the issue of the disorder about which he is consulted, and thing i give him a decided advantage in conducting the treatment by it ring him for remarkable changes in the diseases before the merit. And, in like manner, I may be allowed to remark the may ship who shows himself prepared for all changes of the weak naturally attract the confidence of those entrusted to his charge, and whatever may be the result, he will be freed from blame if his ship should be damaged in a storm which he had previously predicted; and surely his knowledge of impending commotions in the sea and sky, will be of advantage to him by enabling him to make preparations for them�.

One can see from the Section of Prognostics (Indriya sthana, Caraka) that dreams and sights and sounds, the complexion and voice and many other such traits show variations long before the attack of disease. And some of these symptoms appearing after the onset of disease prognosticate sure death or recovery. There is a great elment of mystical lore in it. But there is much that may be verifiable by observation and experiment and that is a great aid to the physician who undertakes the treatment Adam, a recent writer, writing upon the subject makes the following observation:

 

"Looking then to the importance of general Prognostics, I have often wondered why this branch of Semeiology is no longer cultivated, by the profession. Did not the ancient physicians follow the best possible plan when they first described the general phenomena of diseased action and then applied them to particular cases? Surely they did right in first taking a comprehensive view of the whole subject described before attempting to examine the different parts of it in detail. This, in fact, constitutes the great superiority of the ancient savants over the modern, that the former possessed a much greater talent for apprehending general truths than the latter, who confine their attention to particular facts, and too much neglect the observation of general appearances. I trust no one will be offended if I venture to pronounce regarding the present condition of our professional literature, that (to borrow an illustration from the logic Kant) it is altogether Cyclopic that is to say, it wants the eye of philosophy, for, although we have learned to examine particular, ects with greater accuracy than our forefathers did, the sphere of mental vision, so to speak; is more confined than theirs, and that more embrace the same enlarged views of general subjects. Surely _______ we might gain a useful lesson by endeavouring to combine ______ more comprehensive views with our own more accurate and minute observation.'�