Ed. Note- If you are a House fan and have not seen this episode, there are spoilers here so do not read on if you plan on watching it.
My wife and I are fans of the TV show House, I’m sure more than a few of you have watched it and or are hooked.
Tonight’s episode “The Tyrant” had James Earl Jones playing the role of a character very reminiscent of the President of Darfur, Omar al-Bashir. In this episode, the character gets sick and is admitted to the hospital obviously where the show takes place. He is treated for multiple things, as is the case with every show, until they think they get the diagnoses correct, but he dies.
Some of the main characters in House, Cameron and Chase, air their thoughts to one another about how this man should be treated, ethically by the medical oath they took, or based on their morality. Like the real life president of Darfur, this man and his administration are committing severe acts of genocide. Chase believes they are to do the job they have chosen, and heal the man, regardless of his inadequacies in being a compassionate human being. Cameron has a hard time doing the job, but does it none the less.
There is an exchange between the President and Chase, after the President grabs onto Cameron and spews his venom. After the exchange, Chase’s thoughts on the President change and he immediately, unknowingly at the time, changes course. After the death of the President, Foreman (the lead doctor) finds a sign in sheet for the morgue, which implicates Chase in some wrongdoing that proves he tainted some blood tests that would affect the treatment of the President.
My wife and I started talking about how we would have gone about things had we been a doctor treating the likes of Omar al-Bashir, Than Shwe, Mao Zedong, Hitler of any other dictator. While I agree with my wife on certain things, like the fact being a doctor one swears and oath to a code of ethics, but I disagree to an extent when it comes to the morality of it.
I know as a Buddhist I shouldn’t even think about the death of another, or act when it comes to that person meeting an untimely end. BUT, and I say that loudly, BUT wouldn’t one be easing the suffering of a lot more people if this one, insignificant mosquito were not buzzing around anymore? I understand the karmic implications if one were to act in this way, but isn’t it my “duty” to protect as many living beings from suffering?
This may set off a firestorm of comments, I am kind of hoping it does, maybe I have something to learn in all of this. I know the choice I would have made, I see alot of myself in this Chase character from time to time, maybe that’s why I enjoy the show. So… thoughts anyone??