Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Defenestration of The Hypocratic Oath: Doctors Who PreJudge You

Defenestration: to throw something or someone out of a high window, hence the term, "out the window" The most famous defenestration was the Defenestration of Prague, when Protestants threw the Catholic emissaries out of the castle window, starting the Thirty Years War. Defenestration was also a favorite form of execution of Bohemia. It is conjectured  that statesman Anton Masaryk was executed by the Communist Party by being thrown out the third story of the Czernin Palace.

These days, throwing something out the window is to eradicate or nullify it. We throw things "out the window" every day: a diet, an idea, a promise. An oath.

Like the Hippocratic Oath.

These days, doctors are no longer required to take the Hippocratic Oath. That's primarily because the Oath has evolved to suit a society's needs and a culture's norms. For example, the original Oath started thusly:
I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

The classic:
I swear by Apollo the Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods, and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant: 

 The modern version:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: 

Probably the most well-known tenet of the Oath:
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.
The Hippocratic Oath was really the first of moral statement relating to humanity no matter who the person was or what station he or she held. It is important to note that it was a statement of true compassion in that it denotes unqualified acceptance of a person as a human being. Today, unfortunately, we are seeing the defenestration of the Hippocratic Oath for religious and political purposes.

Enter Dr. Steven Hotze

From Right Wing Watch:

Thin and long-faced, 46-year-old Steven Forrest Hotze has carved out a niche in local politics over the past decade as an unyielding and occasionally strident opponent of abortion and public acceptance of homosexuality... beliefs include the following:
A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent
• "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime
• No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath
• All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve
• Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin

So if you should be so unfortunate as to require the services of Dr. Hotze, you'll be judged a sinner first, a patient second. Makes you kind of uncomfortable, doesn't it? And what if he treats you and you don't get well? Hmmm... In a car accident on a Sunday? Good luck!

Another doctor prejudges you according to your political beliefs:
The sign reads [in his outer office]:  "If you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years."
And yet he denies that he's denying anyone healthcare!

Let's hope that throwing the Hippocratic Oath out the window doesn't become ... an epidemic.

Just a thought.

No comments: