An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
More than half of doctors across the UK have backed controversial measures to withhold treatment to smokers and the obese.
According to a new survey around 54 per cent of those who took part said the NHS should have the right to deny non-emergency treatments to those who fail to lose weight or kick their smoking habits.
Members of the networking website doctors.net.uk were asked ‘Should the NHS be allowed to refuse non-emergency treatments to patients unless they lose weight or stop smoking?’
And although the poll was optional 593 of the 1,096 doctors who participated answered yes.
Uh huh. I see. Well, let’s look a little closer, shall we? The original Hippocratic Oath was quite lengthy, so I won’t copy and paste it here. It’s the oldest binding oath in history. Note the word….BINDING! Obviously, a lot of things have changed since ancient Greece, and the oath which I thought ALL doctors too upon getting their license was still valid.
The modern version (which, yes, I AM copying and pasting):
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 which 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.
Did I miss something? Isn’t this oath just as binding as the ancient oath of Hippocrates? So, since doctors now feel they can withhold treatment of the obese and smokers, what’s next? Being overweight just might not be a matter of eating too much, but rather a genetic issue, or caused by some medical problem. There are medications which pack on the pounds no matter what you eat, or don’t eat. I should know…I’ve taken some of those meds. Smoking? Well, if the WHO hadn’t scrubbed their report back in the 90s about how second hand smoke was NOT as dangerous as what the ‘activist nannies’ would like you to believe, then I’d be able to link to it. (Really wish they had ‘screen shot’ back then. sigh… Or I had had the presence of mind to print it out!) Breathing today is hazardous to your health, so who’s to say that a smoker is any less worthy of treatment than a non smoker?
So, what’s next? Will they refuse treatment to gays? I mean, that is an unhealthy lifestyle. How about pregnant women? Pregnancy can also be dangerous. How about those who play sports, or drive cars, or those with allergies? Perhaps they’ll refuse to treat Muslim women because they live in a culture that can be quite hazardous to their health! How about the elderly? I mean, after all, they are going to die anyway, right? Why treat them for a broken bone, or pneumonia?
I have a much better idea. Get rid of socialized medicine, and strip those 593 so called physicians of their licenses!
“Above all, I must not play at God.”