The Hippocratic Obama?



health care

The Pelosi Health Care Bill is ready for all to peruse, all 1990 pages!  Yet there is no time to spare, one must read quickly and then even more quickly, call Washington and tell them "NO"!  Several month ago I wrote this article concerning this Administration and whether it lines up with the ethics found in the  Hippocratic Oath.  They are so far removed from the morality of this Oath and yet they want to run one of the most important aspects of a free people, the right to take care of oneself.  As I was reading  Latte Links at Caffeinated Thougths, I noticed a link entitled Obama Care vs. the Hippocratic Oath, I found it an interesting read and would like to add my own thoughts on this subject.

The thoughtless rush in penning this complex bill, by those who are so under qualified to do so is frightening. Healthcare is a complex issue and not one easily fixed by men and women whom have no real experience in the health industry. But they have a mandate and an agenda that is pushing them, again, at break neck speed to create legislation that none will read, let alone understand what they are reading. Having the government step in to save the day, will not ultimately save lives, nor money, but will jeopardize the health of our country and lay the burden on the backs of future generations. Although the health debate affects real people, there must be a look at the philosophical, ethical and moral reasons that the government should not get involved as Supreme Giver of Health Insurance.

The following is the philosophy found on the Democratic Party’s website in regard to health care.

Healthcare for All

“The American people understand that good health is the foundation of individual achievement and economic prosperity. Ensuring quality, affordable health care for every single American is essential to children’s education, workers’ productivity and businesses’ competitiveness. We believe that covering all is not just a moral imperative, but is necessary to making our health system workable and affordable. Doing so would end cost-shifting from the uninsured, promote prevention and wellness, stop insurance discrimination, help eliminate health care disparities, and achieve savings through competition, choice, innovation, and higher quality care.

Health care reform must also provide adequate incentives for innovation to ensure that Americans have access to evidence-based and cost-effective health care. Research should be based on science, not ideology. For the millions of Americans and their families suffering from debilitating physical and emotional effects of disease, time is a precious commodity, and it is running out.”

The first sentence of the Democrats stand on healthcare is fallacious. Good health is the foundation of individual achievement and economic prosperity? There have been many people through out history, who have in poor and failing health achieved greatness and/or economic prosperity. In American history alone, we have examples in the following individuals. Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Teddy Roosevelt was a weak and asthmatic child who grew up to be one of the most robust and ambitious United States presidents ever. Of Franklin Delanore Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt thought FDR’s polio was "a turning point" that "proved a blessing in disguise; for it gave him strength and courage he had not had before". Not only did Abraham Lincoln suffer from serious bouts of depression, but he also tried to give advice to others he knew were suffering. Lincoln’s depressions, whether they lasted for hours, days, weeks, or months always came to an end. Knowing this, he could encourage others.

The Democratic Party talks a good talk, which tickles the deaf ears and brings false light to the eyes of its constituents. But their utopia can never be obtained through a universal health care plan. Good health is not a right, constitutionally or otherwise, and it can not be mandated or legislated. Though we all hope and pray for good health for our families, friends and loved ones, we should not believe the lie that the Democratic Party is the giver of such promises. The ideological statement posed by this Party of Change ignores those who have gone before in spite of great challenges to health and wellness, who have achieved greatness on their own, without the benefit of the Government giving them "benefits".

The most crucial question however is this: "Will Dr. Obama, M.D. and his colleagues swear the Hippocratic Oath when they take over the Health Care of our Nation?" As I read through the original Greek oath, I was astounded to find that already this new administration does not hold to this ancient oath.

The Hippocratic Oath: Classical Version

“I swear by Apollo 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.”

(Modern version: I SWEAR in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation)

“To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else. I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.”

(Modern: TO RECKON all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.)

Is the Obama Administration able to fulfill this dictate, seeking the counsel of skilled physicians for the benefit of the patient, as opposed to the benefit of their political agenda? Can the government truly take care of every American citizen, from the halls of Washington D.C., assess their needs physically and mentally and thereby render a treatment that will keep them from harm and injustice? Absolutely not!

“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

Both Obama and Hilary Clinton supported in separate interviews Oregon’s "Death with Dignity Law. Hilary Clinton stated that Oregon was "breaking new ground and providing valuable information as to what does and doesn’t work when it comes to end-of-life questions, I think, is very beneficial."

When Obama was asked this question, "A couple of other issues of interest to Oregonians involve initiatives passed by the voters that have come into conflict with the federal government: physician-assisted suicide and medical marijuana. Do you support those two concepts?" He answered: "I am in favor of palliative medicine in circumstances where someone is terminally ill. … I’m mindful of the legitimate interests of states to prevent a slide from palliative treatments into euthanasia. On the other hand, I think that the people of Oregon did a service for the country in recognizing that as the population gets older we’ve got to think about issues of end-of-life care. …" http://www.deathwithdignity.org/

“Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

(Modern: I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.)

The Democratic Party Platform violates this part of the oath:

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs”

“In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”

(Modern: WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient. I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.)

Our very Constitution has foundational ties to the principles and writings of ancient Greek society, yet even in this, the Administration strays far from these ideologies that helped to make our Nation great and that have been pivotal in the medical community for thousands of years.

“I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.”

Should the government create an office in which men and women, who are not involved in the medical field and therefore untrained at "using the knife" be given authority in the name of Government Health Care to make decisions that only a doctor should make with his patients?

“Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.”

No government remains perfectly just and moral when it views itself as the righter of perceived wrongs as its societal ideology. The administration views justice as "wealth distribution" and in this case "health distribution". Those who have must be willing to give up their premium health care so those who don’t have may partake in some lesser form of health care. There is intentional injustice at the expense of the "haves".

“What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.” (Modern: WHATEVER IN CONNECTION with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.)

The administration hopes to "improve the economy and deploy electronic health records for every clinician and hospital in the U.S." http://www.emaxhealth.com/1/34/27513/electronic-medical-records-and-obama-039-s-economic-plan.html. If the government has access to one’s private medical records, does this not infringe on the individual’s protection under the Fourth Amendment? Do we as American citizens want the government to have access to our most private records?

“If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.”

(Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_classical.html and also http://members.tripod.com/nktiuro/hippocra.htm

As I read this ancient document, I realized that our government is in no position to be taking on the role of Health Care Reform. The reform that must take place runs deeper than many are willing to admit. This is not just a Republican or Democratic issue, but a deeply moral and personal issue. If we in America can not hold to our own Constitution, how then can we hold to the ethical ideals put forth by "the civilization of the ancient Greeks that has been immensely influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greece

The Hippocratic Oath merely highlights how far we have fallen from great moral and ethical truths that have been held for thousands of years. When an government begins to correct perceived wrongs, appeasing the voters, but refuses to engage the greater issues of morality because to do so would mean to explore areas of foundational truths that many choose to ignore or not believe as true for today; then that society will follow the way of every other great civilization and will no longer be a beacon of morality and goodness, but a "has been of history".

The founding fathers would be astounded at how far America has come in terms of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. They would stand in awe at the great progress that the people of the United States have made in the arenas of science, education, art and literature. They would be delighted that leeching is no longer the medical care of choice prescribed by physicians. Yet I believe there would be grave concern because of the direction that this progressive government has taken and the callous disregard for the moral and the foundational truths that birthed this Republic. The health of our Nation is at stake, but not because we are debating health care reform, but because we are not debating the health crisis that is at the very heart of our country: morality and truths demise.

nut health care

Connect with Caffeinated Thoughts!

Please read our comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • http://otherspoon.blogspot.com Ann Neumann

    The original Hippocratic Oath was written in 4 B.C. The world is a very different place than it was then. The medical profession agrees and a modern version was adopted in 1964.

    You’re quoting from something other than the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath, which is a disservice to your readers.

    There are many other errors in this post but I’ve pasted the modern oath here so that readers may reference it for themselves. In no way does the oath define life as from fertilization to natural death. These errors erode your credibility in this discussion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

    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 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.

    • http://www.caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

      @Ann Neumann, Not being that familiar with the Hippocratic Oath to the point I would notice slight differences, etc. I would recommend to you that you not talk about the “correct version” and then link to Wikipedia.

      Any college professor worth his or her salt would fail you if you used it as a source in a paper.

      Have a different link or source?

  • http://otherspoon.blogspot.com Ann Neumann

    Odd request, Shane, considering wiki is an online dictionary. But I’ll humor you:

    http://www.imagerynet.com/hippo.ama.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_modern.html

    And historical information:

    http://www.scienceweek.com/2004/sa040917-6.htm
    .-= Ann Neumann´s last blog ..Literal Interpretation of Which Hippocratic Oath? =-.

    • http://www.caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

      @Ann Neumann, But it can be edited or added to by anybody. That is why it can’t be considered a credible source of information.

      Seriously, my wife had a college prof (she was a non-traditional student) who failed people who used it. It is amazing how many people don’t realize that about wikipedia.

  • Mary Selby

    Ann, you will notice that both the Ancient Greek and Modern are listed and the Administration fails to meet the standard.
    You are very accurate that the world is a different place from ancient times and your acknowledgement demonstrates the heart of my post. I don’t claim to be an expert in the Oath, but rather an observer of the erosion of upholding a foundation of Life, Ethics, Morality and Truth that the original as well as the modern Oath embodies.
    Our modern translation begins with “I SWEAR in the presence of the Almighty” and if He (the Almighty) is the standard of Life, Ethics, Morality and Truth, then I submit that the Administration and many in Congress do not subscribe to its ideals.