The Doctor’s Dilemma
Suspend your disbelief and imagine the following miracle to have occurred: A young doctor working in a hospital discovers that he has the power to cure anyone under the age of seventy of any sickness or injury simply by touching the patient. Any contact, however brief, between any part of his skin and the skin of the patient will cure the disease. He has always been devoted to his work, and he wants to use his gift to benefit humanity as much as possible. However, he knows that the gift is absolutely non-transferable, will last for his lifetime only, and will not persist in tissue separated from his body. This was explained by the little green man in a flying saucer who gave it to him.
What will happen if he uses his gift? What should he try to do and how should he go about it? What is the most favorable result that can be expected?
First off, what a gift and a burdon. There is the great joy of being able to provide instantaneous healing to anyone the world over, but along with it comes the guilt of not being to able to heal everyone. And what’s the hierarchy for healing? To define who is worthy and who to heal first is completely subjective. Is it the most vulnerable people who should receive it first? Or is it the very wealthy and very powerful? The following will be my attempts to imagine all that could go wrong with this scenario, and optimistically imagine the best possible outcome.
If he uses his gift, word will spread fast due to the fact that he just may be the most powerful human on earth, now. Health is our most precious asset. No matter how much you possess, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Countries will fight to “claim” him to bolster their world influence. He could become a powerful weapon of blackmail and war, offering healing services in return for confidential information or healing wounded soldiers, creating an undefeatable army.
One would hope that people would patiently line up, calmly waiting to be healed, but the reality is that people are suffering. Who gets to go to the front of the line? His patients could potentially fight one another to get what they need to survive. Chaos is a terrifying thing and if there’s no order to his process, he could be badly hurt by his patients trying to access his gift before others.
This is rather dark, but if he heals people with disease, rendering it no longer an imminent threat, then would doctors no longer have it as a priority when considering their research? If the need isn’t there, no one will step up to attempt to cure it. It’s no wonder we were raised hearing that a monumental success would be to cure cancer.
As a culture, I believe it is imperative that we put our stock into science and research. If this man provides a simple “cure all”, will our culture lean more towards instantaneous results and less from the scientific method needed to truly understand the cause of a disease? An illness could have an important underlying cause that will be ignored as long as there is an instant fix
There is a good chance, that this power could go directly to this man’s head. He could wield it as he pleased, using it as he so chose. He could spite the people he didn’t agree with or heal the people he did. Worst case scenario, but what if someone as purely evil as Hitler had this gift? It doesn’t take too much imagination to envision how he might use it. In the wrong a-moral hands, this could go from a gift to a curse for the rest of the world.
The most favorable result I can expect is if he keeps his gift a secret and is able to bestow it in a healthy, efficient manner without corruption or chaos. I feel like this man needs to protect himself and his identity. Perhaps a waiver? Maybe his services are free, but his patients need to swear on their life (or on an NDA) that his identity will remain a secret.