Friday, August 7, 2009

Hypocratic Oath

Zeke Emanuel who is Obama's man for healthcare said today that he thinks the oath that physicians swear is outmoded and should be eliminated. Although it is called the hippocratic oath, since the 70's this is the oath that we swear. It is the Oath of Maimonides. He swore the same oath, but I guess his idea of what swearing an oath is like saying, "well, I sort of swear unless it is politically incovienent". I guess he swore a hypocratic oath that is above all others. I wonder which parts he objects to? After all, it mentions God (bad for atheists, and which God); (It warns to resist charlatans and others who interfere with care like politicians).

"Almighty God, Thou has created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs hast Thou combined in it that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty the body which is the envelope of the immortal soul. They are ever acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling of passions deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it came. Thou sendest to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge him to avert it.
"Thou has blest Thine earth, Thy rivers and Thy mountains with healing substances; they enable Thy creatures to alleviate their sufferings and to heal their illnesses. Thou hast endowed man with the wisdom to relieve the suffering of his brother, to recognize his disorders, to extract the healing substances, to discover their powers and to prepare and to apply them to suit every ill. In Thine Eternal Providence Thou hast chosen me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. I am now about to apply myself to the duties of my profession. Support me, Almighty God, in these great labors that they may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.
"Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. Illumine my mind that it recognize what presents itself and that it may comprehend what is absent or hidden. Let it not fail to see what is visible, but do not permit it to arrogate to itself the power to see what cannot be seen, for delicate and indefinite are the bounds of the great art of caring for the lives and health of Thy creatures. Let me never be absent- minded. May no strange thoughts divert my attention at the bedside of the sick, or disturb my mind in its silent labors, for great and sacred are the thoughtful deliberations required to preserve the lives and health of Thy creatures.
"Grant that my patients have confidence in me and my art and follow my directions and my counsel. Remove from their midst all charlatans and the whole host of officious relatives and know-all nurses, cruel people who arrogantly frustrate the wisest purposes of our art and often lead Thy creatures to their death.
"Should those who are wiser than I wish to improve and instruct me, let my soul gratefully follow their guidance; for vast is the extent of our art. Should conceited fools, however, censure me, then let love for my profession steel me against them, so that I remain steadfast without regard for age, for reputation, or for honor, because surrender would bring to Thy creatures sickness and death.
"Imbue my soul with gentleness and calmness when older colleagues, proud of their age, wish to displace me or to scorn me or disdainfully to teach me. May even this be of advantage to me, for they know many things of which I am ignorant, but let not their arrogance give me pain. For they are old and old age is not master of the passions. I also hope to attain old age upon this earth, before Thee, Almighty God!
"Let me be contented in everything except in the great science of my profession. Never allow the thought to arise in me that I have attained to sufficient knowledge, but vouchsafe to me the strength, the leisure and the ambition ever to extend my knowledge. For art is great, but the mind of man is ever expanding.
"Almighty God! Thou hast chosen me in Thy mercy to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures. I now apply myself to my profession. Support me in this great task so that it may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed."

I am proud of this oath, it is the oath that I swore, and where I am from, when you swear an oath, it means something. I guess for others especially in Washington, that is not so.


Andrew_M_Garland said...

It is shocking to hear a high government official propose that a professional oath should be eliminated. Why? Where is the reasoning? What would be the result? Does he merely spout any thought that comes into his head?

If he has a reasoned policy paper, let's see it. If he doesn't have such a paper, then he has announced his own ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance.

I admit that I am a cynic. Possibly he projects his political world of false promises, deception, and betrayal onto the profession that he plans to control. It is easier to harm people when you think of them as people of clay, unworthy of respect.

A Few Words About Policy

We must demand policy papers from our politicians, where they fully investigate and justify their proposals. We can't live with "let's try this and see".

Join me in the shout "Show me the policy paper!". If they refuse, shout "Show me the cocktail napkin!"

SeaSpray said...

I am moved by this post. Will come back when more time. :)

paul said...

uh huh. isn't there language in there about not charging for a medical education? why i am in 6 figures of debt then?

SeaSpray said...

Hi Throckmorton-I find that oath to be so very moving...the awesomeness of a physician's responsibility..the sacrifice involved to earn the privilege to assume that kind of responsibility over and for another human being...and the sacrifices involved even when practicing your art... time, family, etc.

I really care about my doctors as people too. I don't know them personally. Maybe they are very different from how I perceive them, but i am so appreciative of the care I have received from the good docs. I sincerely hope all is well in their personal lives and that they are taking care of themselves and being cared for. I hope they are blessed in every way that is important for them. That is how much I care about my docs. No one can give and give and give and handle all the stresses involved without being fulfilled elsewhere... at least they shouldn't have to.

It is a noble profession because of everything said in the oath.

The idea that this man in office would discard the hippocratic oath as useless trash id the height of ignorance... not to mention alarming that it further underscores his devaluing of human life. And we are supposed to TRUST this administration to look out for the good of all?! They've basically held out a neon sign stating their ultimate intentions. God help us!

Is this the guy that also things babies up to 2 years old don't have value because they don't have mature thinking processes or some erroneous reason? So babies, old people (and maybe not that old),disabled..all unnecessary drains on society. And exactly who will make these determinations? What will be there expertise in critically evaluating a persons health and probable outcomes? Oh wait... silly me... we now have a President who never even held a managerial position *anywhere* and who certainly did not have the resume to prove his qualifications.

And is this Zeke guy who mentioned putting things in the water to sterilize a population to control population growth? If it isn't is one of the other Czars. Btw..this isn't Russia. Why the heck do we have multiple CZARS??

SeaSpray said...

TM-Sorry comments so long had to break up posting.

Nancy Pelosi and her ilk tried to insinuate the people protesting at town hall meetings are carrying Swatzticas (sp?)and I think that is a vile, disingenuous thing to do. All she has to do is look at her own administration and policies. Nazis devalued life. Most conservatives do not. But at these is a mixture of political persuasions in all age groups. and isn't it interesting how this adm wants to squelch free speech? *FRIGHTENING!* And the press is willing to help!

You are so right on when you said "I guess he swore a hypocratic oath that is above all others." !!

Human beings have value. We all do. When I worked for SCARC we educated the developmentally disabled to bring up their standard of living from what they had in the institutions. They are treated as equals to any other normal functioning person and guess what? Their IQ's went up. The more they were exposed to... the more they mastered. Sure some would never change... but others moved from low functioning to moderate, moderate to high functioning. The goal was that they be assimilated into the mainstream population and it has worked very well. yes..under supervision... but their lives are so much better.

They hold jobs, they socialize and enjoy life like anyone else when given the opportunity. they have feelings.. both physical and emotional.

What kind of society would we be if we treated the least of us with such disregard and lack of respect? What kind of society WILL we be if we continue down this slippery slope of valuing human beings solely on what they can contribute to society?

It occurs to me..they are willing to kill babies, eliminate necessary care from the elderly or perhaps the best medicine or care if deemed to expensive to save a life...all for the sake of putting the masses of people on a free system who already know how to PLAY the free system when they could get out and work, etc. AND...I KNOW there are genuine people who need mother was one of them.. but she did work hard all her life... she did contribute all along.

the welfare system is corrupt now. If they implement this it will be massive..with the opportunity for massive corruption too.

All that being said here is a funny Colbert Youtube link. About 15 minutes in he has the author of the book SICK on. I disagree but funny stuff. :)

Also scary how you know people will buy into it because they don't have all the facts.

SeaSpray said...

I was visiting Sandman, and Israeli anesthesiologist and read this fabulous post called The Gift (about a thank you letter from a father and gifts given)and as I was reading this mans profound thank you note...I thought of this post about the physician's Hippocratic Oath as it related to this man's perceived treatment of his son.

here is an excerpt:

"Now, having been discharged from the hospital, is the time for giving thanks:
" are charged day and night to remain by the side of a patient in distress at all times and all have been taught to understand the heart and soul of the patient and lift his spirits with understanding and the love of humanity...
So it is written in the Physician's Oath (the Hebrew version. Here is the original with the biblical references. -QL)
At times, in life, events occur which bring into focus the meaning of the word: humanity. So it was in this case.
Deeply stirred, frightened, unable to speak, I watched as the doctors worked calmly with determination to save my son, and again understood the sanctity of your work and especially your humanity."

Here is another excerpt :

"In the tractate Sanhedrin (from the Mishna - QL) it is written:
"He who saves one soul - saves an entire world."
On behalf of the entire family, please accept this humble gift.
I will end with the 8th blessing of the Amidah:
"Heal us Lord, and we will be healed, save us and we will be saved, bring complete healing for all our illnesses, for you are a compassionate healer.""

Zeke Emanuel has it all wrong. he must NEVER have is way!

Here is the link if you want to read in it's entirety:

I have written heartfelt Thank you notes but nothing of this caliber. I like the quoting idea and the blessings. :)

But this letter underscores the value of physicians and the quality and compassionate care received by them, how much they are appreciated by their patients.

His current post about a lady afraid of dying in surgery brought tears to my eyes. Great blog!

Sorry so many comments today TM. I just feel so PASSIONATE about the value of human life and his discounting the oath is frightening considering the fact that he is one of the CZARS.

I can not fathom all the changes that have transpired in this country since January.

Regarding their reassuring us the health plan is good for us...all I can think of to respond now is ..LIAR, LIAR..PANTS ON FIRE!

SeaSpray said...