CYBERBULLYING has become a prevalent issue across the globe. However, when a specialist doctor indulges in cyberbullying, it raises serious questions regarding their professionalism, ethics and integrity.
In a story we carried in yesterday’s edition, a Harare-based neurologist questioned the credentials of another senior specialist physician and supervisor, claiming that he had “never seen the entrance of a neurology training centre”.
Dr Lennon Gwaunza claimed Dr Andrew Matarutse was masquerading as a specialist physician. Dr Matarutse runs a surgery in Milton Park, and practices clinical neurology and internal medicine with a special assignment to supervise doctors at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Dr Gwaunza alleged that Dr Matarutse did not have the necessary training and experience required to be a specialist physician in clinical neurology. The accusations made by Dr Gwaunza have the potential to damage Dr Matarutse’s reputation, credibility and trustworthiness.
The incident raises serious questions about the level of professionalism and ethics within the medical community. Doctors are entrusted with the lives of their patients, and such behaviour on the part of a specialist doctor erodes the trust that patients have in the medical profession. When doctors’ qualifications and professionalism are publicly discredited, it creates a perception that the profession is not trustworthy, and patients may begin to doubt their doctors’ credentials.
Cyberbullying, especially among professionals, can cause significant damage to the victim and to the entire profession. The issues of bullying and questioning one another’s qualifications are not specific to Zimbabwe alone. These issues exist worldwide and have a significant impact on the medical profession. Such bullying only serves to undermine the professionalism and ethics of medicine and reduce the trust placed in doctors.
Moreover, this incident highlights the importance of stricter policies on cyberbullying within the medical community. All professionals need to be held accountable for their online behaviour, and this is especially important for doctors.
Doctors should be role models within the community, and they should work to uphold the standards of the profession, including ethical behaviour.
The medical community must also work towards instilling trust in their patients. Patients need to have faith in their doctors’ qualifications and expertise. The entire profession should work together towards common goals that would benefit patients.
Placing patients’ interests first requires collaboration, cooperation and mutual respect. Therefore, every medical professional must conduct themselves ethically and professionally, and refrain from bullying or cyberbullying a fellow professional.
The issue of cyberbullying among medical professionals is a serious cause for concern, as it undermines the professionalism and ethics of medicine.
The entire medical community needs to work together to put an end to this pernicious practice, and lay down strict policies to deter and hold accountable medical professionals who engage in such behaviour. Ultimately, it is important for every medical professional to conduct themselves ethically and responsibly and to support each other in the larger interest of their patients.
Patients deserve nothing less, and the medical community must deliver.