Friday, March 9, 2012

Hippocratic Oath

Currently in the United States we are allowing politicians to pass shocking legislation that caters to fringe groups with lobbying power and lots of ca$h.  Doctors in Arizona can lie to women about life threatening, prenatal conditions if they could result in the women asking for abortions to save their own lives.  Several presidential candidates who strongly support these anti-abortion under all circumstances, including life threatening ones, also agree that sick people who can't afford their own health care should die rather than being covered by taxpayers.  Texas has cut funding to public health care by 2/3rds but at least that also removed 23 Planned Parenthood clinics from operation.  A woman highlighting her friend's plight for her insurance to treat endometriosis with birth control pills was called a slut and told that she should post online videos of herself having sex if taxpayers were to pay for the pills.  And we call ourselves a civilized society.

Below is the oath that most medical providers take; if only we all should be forced to comply.

I 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 to 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, be 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.

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