Saturday, October 25, 2008

A guide to the Hippocratic Oath

When I asked my medical students to name famous doctors in the history of medicine, their first answer was Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered hundreds of patients.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The person alluded to in the article who thought the Hippocratic Oath meant that doctors must deceive their patients is absolutely correct in his observation. He is not correct in what Hippcrates actually said i.e. to withhold HARM, but the person has picked up on what is going on in the doctor/patient relationship.

We live in a society infested with advertizing. Advertizing feeds fantasy and tells enormous lies in order to comfort its audience. It lulls you into feeling as though you have something in common with others who also chose to buy the fantasy put forward by the advertizement.

The target audience for the advertizement actually pays for this service of deception. Advertized goods and services are more expensive than the unadvertized or unglorified ones.

By the same token, people who go with whatever is trendy like to get sugar-coated versions of things from their doctor. Take families who donate their kids' organs. They LOVE to be told their kid won't make it, that he will save 8 other people and that everyone is a hero. My god, what a fantastic 15 minutes of fame! And oh, what smiling idiots...

People who gravitate towards the service of having doctors lie to them like to get back to normal life as soon as possible after a death, accident or shock. Predominantly of the Christian or "hangers-on" sect, they view death as an inconvenience or an embarrassment. They like to be seen getting over it really quickly, unlike other people who beat their breasts etc.

The person in the article was certainly someone who kept that "stiff upper lip" approach appreciating that his doctor wasn't negligent in his communication skills. Deception probably takes quite a good feel for poetry... Oh yes, I noticed the other day that more and more doctors are becoming writers. Hmm

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