Good Enough for a Horse Not Good Enough for a Human
When the Hippocratic oath was written this is how the original text was written,
”I swear by Apollo the physician, by Æsculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath.”
I mention that to give you some frame of reference to when this thing was written (approximately 480-360 BCE). The original oath praised pagan gods, forbid teaching women how to practice medicine, forbid cutting of human flesh, abortion, and of course the sticky subject of the day, practicing euthanasia.
Which was probably a good thing because considering their knowledge of anatomy and medicine 2,500 years ago, I wouldn’t even put money on the fact that they could make sure that they could kill a person painlessly.
Now you might say that regardless of how old this document is, the principle of the Hippocratic Oath is timeless.
A doctor’s job is to help. His job is to do all that he/she can to save life, never to end life.
But I would maintain that even that is a concept that is outdated like the oath itself, because when it was written, people who practiced medicine didn’t have the choices that we do now and I would contend that if they were facing the same issues that modern medicine faces, then the Hippocratic Oath would’ve been much different.
This is still a question of principle, just a different principle.
The question isn’t about saving life at all cost, irregardless of circumstances, but allowing people to maintain their dignity, their quality of life and some would say above all else their humanity.
Let’s just be honest, we have the ability today to turn people into virtual cyborgs, unable to live without the aid of machines which confine them to a vegetable state where they simply exist.
When the Hippocratic Oath was written our technological capabilities weren’t even comprehensible by the most advanced thinkers of the time.
If you contracted a deadly strand of influenza 2500 years ago, good luck with them even being able to identify what you have as influenza, forget about giving you something to fight it.
The only comfort a physician could offer you is a nurse to sit by your side to read you a story from a stone tablet.
It wasn’t until very recent times that we have had the technology to unnaturally prolong lives that would’ve died in any other day in age in recorded history.
The Hippocratic Oath is an example of principle without logic.
The Daily Mail has reported that doctors in New Orleans elected to euthanize critically ill patients rather than leave them to die in agony as they had to evacuate hospitals in the wake of the approaching storm.
One emergency official who spoke on the record, William "Forest" McQueen, told the Mail: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."
They divided the patients up into three groups, those medically fit to survive, those needing urgent care and those that were one foot in the grave.
Those who were already dying, doctors decided that rather than have them drown, get eaten alive by alligators or die from starvation or dehydration they would just euthanize them.
"This was not murder. This was compassion. I had cancer patients who were in agony," One doctor was reported as saying.
Now you know there will be some family that will sue because their mother or father never had a choice. No one asked the family if they wanted to have their parent euthanized, not to mention Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana.
But if you ask me those doctors shouldn’t be sued they should be thanked. Instead of getting upset because your terminally ill mother died a painless death on morphine why don’t you think of it like this, instead of her writhing in pain for four days while the federal government did nothing to bring relief to the people of New Orleans, instead of mom floating out of the hospital on her coat and getting eaten by an alligator swimming around the hospital looking for lunch she met the inevitable the most painless way possible.
One doctor said: "I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right.
"I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul.
As far as I am concern your soul is in good standing and people should be sending you thank you cards.