As I reflect on my days as a practitioner (many years ago) I am reminded of the following incident and this affected me professionally and personally. My cousin had just been shot by a gangster and had been killed on his way home from work. The trauma to us as a family was tremendous. Two days later while working in ICU at the hospital where I was employed, I am paged to come treat a patient who has been ventilated and shot. As I approach the bed I discover it is the same person/gangster who shot my cousin. To be honest for five minutes (probably more) I stood at that bedside with many things going through my head – do I treat him, do I walk away, he killed my cousin just two days ago and many other thoughts. I was totally conflicted by what was the right thing to do and my own personal feelings.
On the one hand the patient needed urgent chest physiotherapy that would assist in stabilising his condition and on other hand how can I treat and possibly save the life of someone who killed a family member of mine. Could I as a practitioner refuse to treat a patient?