Monday, August 6, 2012

Medical Ethics

I once had an argument with an ancient ex about the Hippocratic Oath, which includes, "Do no harm to anyone." He believed the Physician's Oath of 1948 supercedes it and is superior, which leaves behind the humble, simple ancient Greek wisdom to allow wide latitude to the physician in question's personal feelings, morals, ideology, and political beliefs. It allows him to, for example, prescribe something harmful like pain if he thinks it's healthy. Such a perfect shelter for the closet sadist, IMHO. It's like medicine becomes his little psychosexual playpen, hidden among nice-sounding platitudes that assuage the consciences of any possible onlookers. What do you think? I stick to my guns, and prefer the more restrictive Hippocrates.  After all, I found it very telling that the physician, upon observing his patient, just might not trust self-inflicted pain.  But of course, it wouldn't be about him or her...
It's ironic, really:  the 1948 Physician's Oath was written with Nazi atrocities in mind, yet nothing in its wording precludes their being repeated.  What was his point, I wonder?