The Hippocratic Oath and Medical Ethics Versus Covid Mandates

I am not a medical professional and am wholly unqualified to give medical advice. I can, nonetheless, reason and observe. It is my belief that people of good will, interacting with one another in good faith, will not be prone to cause one another harm.

Sadly, our elected government, with its appointed institutions and agencies cannot be deemed to be acting in either good will or good faith with We the People. Instead, we are witnessing only their desire to “mandate” what our behavior and our care should be in the battle to manage an endemic SARS-CoV-2 virus and its inevitable mutations.

These people who deign to be our rulers and betters have lost their way. They have completely decoupled themselves from constitutional government and the sound medical ethic to “do no harm.”

Given that a pandemic has been raging across the globe these issues surrounding “good” medicine and governance are obviously a concern. Also given the morass of government agencies that have not guided us in an effective response, there are instead greater levels of fear, distrust, and frustration among our fellow citizens.

I have been reflecting lately on the precepts, medical ethics, and admonitions in the Hippocratic Oath. Consider the original Greek version (translated to English, of course):

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgement; I will keep them from harm and injustice

The modern version states this portion a bit differently:

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.

(Emphasis added on both versions.)

According to the Harvard Health Blog of the Harvard Medical School, the phrase “Do no harm,” is attributed to Hippocrates in “Of the Epidemics,” as follows:

The physician must… (snip) have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm. (Emphasis added.)

The admonition “do no harm” neither explicitly nor implicitly compels a priority, which is commonly heard as “First, do no harm.” It would seem intuitive, however, that the doctor treating the patient would not want the medicine, or cure, to do greater harm than the injury or illness. When attempting to correct a problem, “First, do no harm” should be inherently obvious, whether one is an auto mechanic, aircraft technician, plumber, carpenter, highly skilled and specialized surgeon, or medical doctor.

“Customer Satisfaction” and “Personalized Service” are typically how business owners view the same principle because that is how we stay in business and feed, clothe, shelter, educate, and otherwise provide for our families.

Sadly, those elected to the government who are entrusted to appoint individuals to positions in their alphabet soup of departments and agencies, who then learn their own language of catchphrases, talking points, agency acronyms, and regulations, know only one way to do things: their way, at their pace.

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