‘It’s okay to say ‘No!’, says doc

Timothy Visser

U3A Helderberg’s first guest speaker for 2018 is Dr Timothy Visser, at Strand Town Hall, on February 7, at 10am.

The title of his talk is “The Pressure to obey, and when it is okay to say ‘No!’” – he will speak about the ethical challenges in working in areas such as Somalia, and will focus on conflicted loyalty when as a medical doctor one is given orders from a political or military body which are, in the doctor’s perspective, diametrically opposed to medical ethics.

He’ll ask: “Do ‘higher’ political goals supersede medical ethos?”

He will also touch on Milgram’s experiments, which tested whether good people can do bad things. 

In his work as CEO of Eerste River Hospital, and as the lead clinician for emergency medicine for the United Nations in Mogadishu, Somalia, he had to grapple with these issues.

He will use examples of his work in Somalia as well as some parallels in working in the medical government sector.

Dr Visser will temper his talk with his and his family’s life story. He attended Somerset House Preparatory School and Harold Cressy High School, before obtaining a BSocSci MBshB from the University of Cape Town. As CEO of Eerste Rivier Hospital he introduced acupuncture, which he sometimes administered himself as well as traditional services like physical therapy, social services, psychiatry, psychology, and he even introduced a life skills coach.

In addition, his reward group or Adherence Club, encouraged antiretroviral-using patients to take their medication regularly.

He is currently an emergency physician to the Africa Mission of the United Nations peace-keeping forces, and is involved in clinical governance and mentorship to the African Union. He also assisted in setting up a Level 2 Emergency Hospital.

The doors open at 9.30am, when tea and coffee will be available.

For more information call Brodwyn Wilson at 083 604 0784.