Tuesday, 3 July 2007

I love Hippocrates and Galen

They arrested a couple of doctors over the recent terrorist attacks in Glasgow. There seems to be shock that doctors would go around killing people. The Jordanian parents of one of the arrested insists his son is intelligent and would never do such a thing.

You only have to be academically bright in the UK to get into med school. You do not need social skills or any sense of honesty or ethics- or common sense. I have had the dubious pleasure of teaching med students. Yes they learned more quickly than my other Uni student groups, but frankly my other groups were made up of nicer people.

The culture of death is deep into medicine; kill babies; kill disabled people; kill the elderly. Is it really such a surprise that a couple of docs decide to kill some other people?

Hippocrates and Galen were a couple of pagans-what did they know?

Well they both understood the Natural Law and so had an innate sense of morality,understanding very well the difference between right and wrong. They both recognised that the ends do not justify the means and the innate dignity of the human person. Galen wrote quite a lot about treating the whole person and not merely the disease and Hippocrates recognised that medics might need a bit of help to stay on the straight and narrow and thus maintain a genuine authority. He wrote an oath that each new doctor had to swear, recognising that he could not do things alone but must ask for help from the gods; what I guess AA would call the Higher Power-the One Socrates recognised.

Although doctors today can take the oath, it is not seen as a requirement any more and those promises about not procuring abortion and doing no harm have been removed.

So just how enlightened are we?

Here is the oath that those old-fashioned-know-nothing-pagans wrote; beautiful isn't it?

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:
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.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

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.
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.

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.
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.

Bold and highlights are mine. What a wonderful medical profession we could have if this was brought back and implemented. Imagine how much more effective medicine would be if medics remembered to treat the person rather than the disease.
When I did my training we had the holistic approach drummed into us and it made us better nurses. I don't know why it was scrapped in favour of treating patients like blocks on a conveyor belt, but I don't think it has helped anyone.


Anonymous said...

YIKES! i only know Pro-life doctors...what a sheltered life i've led!My eldest daughter is a 3rd year Med student & totally Pro-life & iknow a good few Pro-life catholic doctor Bloggers...

White Stone Name Seeker said...

It is good to know there are some out there. I have not had the pleasure of meeting any (openly) pro-life docs- but one, who I didn't meet but knew his reputation when I worked at the hospice. He was Catholic :)
We really need more medical students prepared to buck the trend. I think it will have a knock on effect in all areas of medicine. I really believe that recognising the right to life of all from conception to natural death will improve all aspects of patient care in all fields.
God bless your daughter.