Thursday, December 2, 2010

Modesty VS Morals….The Hidden Battle

The various aspects pertaining to the issue of medical modesty can be daunting. While investigating the black and white of it one can trip over an array of gray stumbling blocks. So much so that advocates prefer to keep the subject within one hue, and simply color it “Modesty”. While that is an excellent stand with which to advocate the general subject, many people/patients/clients find that it does not truly express their views. The word ‘modesty’ may not fully convey their needs and struggles for acceptance or understanding regarding respectful care. For them, it really is a moral choice. These decisions need not be faith-based, but are still fully and ethically who and what people choose to be. Or, perhaps these convictions are based on religious edicts, and people have spent their lives protecting that “eternal” path from being carelessly shattered.
Here lies the dilemma of ‘medical modesty’. Have we condensed the modesty issue to such a degree that the significant messages of moral convictions are not being heard? If we insist that modesty be the issue’s main thrust, are caregivers given the opportunity to see the passionate side of morality and damages caused by disregarding it?
The truth is that the medical arena will not respect or defend the decisions of your body the same as you would. Most do not even feel the need to protect your ethical standards unless backed by protocols to avoid legal issues. Instead, they assume the role of psychologist stating that any mental harm while within their walls can be easily discarded. Or perhaps the role of medical pope, absolving you of any actions you deem immoral that they may inflict on you. And marriage councilor, finding any marital damage that stems from their actions to be petty and unwarranted jealousy. Their beliefs become your prison, and this self-serving attitude inflicts damage. So they send broken people home after promising “no harm”, never accepting responsibility for the tornado of emotional or spiritual damage that is now your life.
Caregivers may state that they simply do not have time to consider all of these harms. It certainly seems that if they have time to discount them then they have already found time to consider them. So let’s try to put accountability in their ethics. Let’s let them know the full range of damage that occurs while on their watch. Only when all possibilities are exposed and out of the closet will caregivers ever understand the full ramifications of their actions. Then we can truly and simply color the picture as ‘Modesty’ with full and honest understanding of all the grays.

© Suzy Furno-Maricle 2010