THE case of an Australian patient, who died of pulmonary embolism on reaching home after a medical procedure in Malaysia, has led to the accusation that his management had met ethical standards in Malaysia, but had fallen far short of Australian ethical standards, giving the impression that Malaysian doctors are more dishonest than those in Australia.
Unethical practice comes about because doctors seek money and fame, bypassing their education, training and conscience.
It is not limited to any country, society, racial or religious group.
In Australia in 2013, a liposuction, together with an experimental, unproven stem-cell treatment was performed on a 75-year-old woman who had sought treatment for her dementia, led to her death from uncontrolled bleeding.
The problem of profit-driven stem-cell clinics offering unproven treatment is so prevalent in Australia and elsewhere that it has been written up in the non-medical academic circle.
In the early 2000s, the Australian Defence Department tested its soldiers sent to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste with anti-malarial drugs not approved for use in Australia and known to cause mental side-effects.
The commander was reported to have told the soldiers that taking part in the trial was a prerequisite for deployment.
This was a breach of medical ethics since subjects of any medical trial have to be informed of its side-effects and have the right not to participate in it.
It was reported that some participants suffered serious side-effects, including depression and suicidal tendencies.
Australia has a better life expectancy than Malaysia.
It is fair to say that Australia is richer with better healthcare standards than in Malaysia.
But, wealth has no relationship with morality.
To say that medicine in Australia is more ethical than in Malaysia is as bigoted as it is to claim that society in Australia is more honest than in Malaysia.
DR ONG HEAN TEIK, Penang