There are many ethical problems and issues raised by this novel. First of all, the novel put to light Dr. Mathis’s fraud when he realized that he was being framed. How could one view this action? Is it ethically correct to do this? Dr. Mathis was quite certain in having no remorse for doing such a thing, for he believed it did not raise any direct ethical or moral issues. He even believed this did not cause a violation to the Hippocratic Oath. For him, the principle of non-maleficence applied because he could no longer hurt the patient, Mr. Swensen since he was already dead.
By doing the fraud, he only corrected an injustice done to him since he was being framed. But, can this be considered enough? By following Kantian ethics and the principles of deontology, a physician has the duty of being honest and doing righteous work independently of the context in which he is in. He has to do the right thing at all times no matter if this can or cannot be seen by others. It does not matter if he knows for certain that he will never have sanctions or that his deeds are of no apparent consequence. By allowing himself to not be righteous, the professional is tampering his occupation.
He is committing an inexcusable error. Moreover, Although Mathis did not apparently hurt anyone by falsifying the autopsy reports, he committed a grave injustice for he consciously did not tell the truth. According to the scholarly article written by Dr. Feinstein, “the search for truth” is both “a professional and a moral objective” in science, and any act against truth is particularly “repugnant”. The only acceptable error is the non-deliberate one (Feinstein, 475).
This is not the case with what Dr. Mathis did. He also did not follow the of non-maleficence because he hurt Mr. Swensen’s amily, including his daughter Connie, by not showing the true cause of their loved ones. He also went against the principle of autonomy by not allowing Dr. Swensen’s family to have access to the truth, but also by desecrating the bodies of both Walter Maughn from whom he retrieved the cancerous prostate he used to cover the misdiagnosis of Mr. Swensen, but he also retrieved serum from the eyes of Howard’s dead body to prove his theory that he died from an insulin shock. He did both actions without consulting the deceased’s family. Moreover, both deeds were for his own benefit and not that of his patients.
This goes against the Hippocratic School of Medicine’s principals and against the virtuous doctor’s values. Dr. Mathis’s personal and romantic relationship with Connie Swensen, Mr. Swensen’s daughter, while he was taking care of the latter is yet a major medical issue. This raises major moral and ethical issues. Should he engage in such relationships? A physician is primarily one thing in his line of work: a physician. He has to act with professionalism, and engaging himself personally with patients or patient relatives goes against this. Moreover, Dr.
Mathis’s relationship with Connie led him to do certain things that he would not usually do. He committed mistakes that aggravated his situation and probably caused more damage to his career. He allowed himself to go on vacation with Connie almost immediately after performing surgery on her father while he should have stayed to make sure that his patient’s situation was good and that he would be nearby if any complications arose. This because Dr. Mathis was too eager to be with Connie and; hence, was less caring and cautious with his patient.
He acted selfishly, this is a major offence for a virtuous physician. In addition to this, Dr. Mathis did not only have one patient under his care but two. He also let them be under the supervision of Dr. Wright, which he did not entirely trust. This goes against the fundamental principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, for Dr. Mathis could and had the obligation to do more for his patients’ well-being. Also, Moses Mathis acted unethically and unprofessionally because he used his situation of power as the responsible physician of Mr. Swensen to seduce Miss Connie Swensen.
This is not just morally questionable but also goes against fundamental laws in the Hippocratic School of Medicine for a physician should not engage in sexual relations inside the house of a patient or use his situation of power to do so. In this current situation, Dr. Mathis transgressed this fundamental principle. Furthermore, Moe’s lack of care for his relationships nis coworkers and inattention for their serious unethical misconduct constitutes a major ethical issue and unprofessionalism. Although Dr. Mathis is a good physician who practices deliberative medicine. Some major misbehavior put him as an unprofessional physician.