How can Chua Jui Meng talk about ethics of doctors when he himself
ignores the ethics of a Health Minister who should not violate the
fundamental human right to life and health of Malaysians in the worst dengue
epidemic in the nation's history
by Lim Kit Siang
Saturday): It is gratifying that the
Health Ministry has heeded my advice last Sunday that it should adopt a more
professional approach before banning living donor liver transplantation (LDLT)
by establishing a Living Donors Organ Transplantation Review Committee to
study and make policy recommendations to the government and Parliament.
This is nub of the message by the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng,
yesterday after launching the "World Health Survey 2002".
He said no disciplinary action will be taken against Datuk Dr K.C. Tan, a
liver transplant surgeon at Subang Jaya Medical Centre, until a
sub-committee comes up with guidelines on organ transplants involving living
The subcommittee under the Health Ministry's National Organ Donation
Committee, headed by former Director-General of Health Tan Sri Abu Bakar
Sulaiman, will iron out the details concerning what is ethical or not, in
the light of the controversy.
Chua has however created even more confusion from his intervention.
On the one hand, he said transplants involving living unrelated donors
violated the code of ethics of medical professionals where the surgeon was
to save a life without endangering another. He said the move could cause
illness or cost the life of the living donor in which legal and ethical
questions could arise as against living related donor transplants that
involve strong relationship or emotional ties with genuine reasons for it.
On the other hand, he has also taken the stance that surgeons performing
live organ transplants are allowed to continue their work in Malaysia but
they are answerable to their profession's code of ethics until new
guidelines on the controversial issue is drawn up. (Malay Mail).
How can the Health Minister take two contradictory position at one and the
same time - that it is unethical to do unrelated living organ transplants
and allowing live organ transplants "subject to code of ethics"?
This is sheer Ministerial muddledom and confusion confounded.
The public had expected the Health Minister to throw some light on the
controversy but he had only generated more heat and greater confusion.
He said for instance that the ethical concerns of the medical profession
came under the purview of the Malaysian Medical Counil and that his Ministry
did not give directives on the ethics of the profession as the MMC is an
independent body made up of doctors which would be better positioned to look
into the ethics of the doctors.
If so, why did he as a non-medical person venture to "rush in where angels
fear to tread" by commenting on the ethics of live organ transplant and why
is one the Health Ministry's sub-committees studying the issue to come up
with a decree, when it should be studied by a sub-committee of the MMC?
Chua has also thrown up a further question: How can Chua Jui Meng talk about
ethics of doctors when he himself ignores the ethics of a Health Minister
who should not violate the fundamental human right to life and health of
Malaysians in the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history - by a
deliberate policy of mishandling it through media blackout and lack of a
nation-wide alert, resulting in the most number of dengue cases and dengue
deaths in the nation's history, with the toll increasing unchecked?
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National