Posted by Lava Cocktail at 4/2/2009
Tags: Hippocratic Oath Nazi Doctors Hypocrisy
"I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug."
-from the Hippocratic Oath
Recently, I had an encounter with a so called doctor who appears to have excised the above from the Hippocratic Oath she was required to take upon graduating from medical school. I had driven nearly 20 miles to a hospital, after I was told over the phone that they would put my elderly father up for a couple of nights until a suitable place could be found for him. However upon arrival, the doctor in ER said no, that they would not do this. I told her that I would not have come all that way if I had been informed that he couldn't stay there. Instead of sympathizing with my plight however, the doctor called the cops. Two officers appeared and I convinced one of them that I wasn't a threat, just very stressed, tired, confused and frustrated at the incompetence of the system. He was more warm and understanding than the doctor, and knew that my emotional state was justified. Even though they assessed that I wasn't going to harm anyone, they ended up taking my dad to another facility in a cop car. As I was walking out of ER, the doctor glared at me from the nurses station and said with great contempt: "I have a room for you."
Quite disheartened by the above experience, I took it upon myself to re-read the Hippocratic Oath and realized that, like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it has been totally gutted of its relevance. I suggest printing out the following, laminating it and carrying it with you the next time you go to a medical facility. Pull it out and remind doctors about the warmth/sympathy/understanding part of the oath, if they treat you as inhumanely as I was treated. In a world where critically ill patients are yanked out of hospitals and being dumped onto the streets to fend for themselves, it is even more important now to restore the humanitarian element, that once constituted the Hippocratic Oath. Here's a version written by Louis Lasagna in 1964:
The Hippocratic Oath: Modern Version
swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.