The Hippocratic Oath, for centuries a foundational recitation of the objective goal of physicians to preserve life, remain ethical, and above all to serve their patients wisely, has, like so much of contemporary civil society, been largely cast aside as outdated – in the words of a dean at the Yale School of Medicine, it had become “impersonal, cold, and too pat.”
In many medical schools, the oath now taken by graduating medical students is personal and subjective rather than objective, thus allowing each newly minted physician to decide for themselves what code they will follow in their career.
The dilution of a common, universal code for doctors is one of many reasons why the practice of medicine in the United States, and even more so in our neighbor to the north, has become unmoored from the formerly sacred doctor-patient relationship, and more closely tethered to “equity” and the whims of patients, including facilitating abortion and even euthanasia.
As with many troubling trends in the country, the beat-down of scientific inquiry and reasoned debate within the practice of medicine is being led by California, where the primacy if not the infallibility of the federal CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is now the law.
The COVID pandemic opened the door to perhaps the most unscientific approach ever to public healthcare policy, reaching its nadir with the new California law that prohibits physicians from communicating information critical of federal COVID guidelines. Failing to adhere to this prohibitory statute can result in doctors losing their licenses.
Interestingly, one prominent medical organizations, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) blames the federal government for much of the “lack of trustworthiness” that caused “inequity” in the response to the COVID pandemic, but turns right around in a study – “The Way Forward Starts Now, Lessons From COVID-19” – advocating for expanded federal money and guidance.
Matters are even worse in Canada, where doctors now must submit to reeducation courses and fear having their licenses pulled, for doing nothing more serious than “retweeting a comment . . . about the unnecessary severity of the COVID lockdowns” – via procedures that apparently can be initiated against the doctor by any person, whether or not a patient.
The glorification of abortion as the new Holy Grail of Democrat politics, finds wide acceptance among doctors, many of who no longer adhere to earlier oaths that recited the protection of “human life from its beginning.”
Protection of life has been so devalued that Uncle Sam’s Food and Drug Administration, the primary regulator of prescription drugs, decided that the COVID pandemic necessitated allowing the abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol to be available to pregnant women by telephone. That opening has empowered Planned Parenthood offices in states such as Kansas in America’s heartland, to begin offering “teleconferences” so that the abortion pills can be even more easily obtained.
At the other end of the life cycle, Canada has taken to marketing “Medical Assistance in Dying” as a coloring book for children. This bizarre step starts the process of normalizing euthanasia so that by the time children become young adults, the practice will be as widely accepted as, well ... abortion.
Such cavalier treatment of life and death fits comfortably within the broad parameters of modern “science,” at least as directed by learned universities and government agencies, that now considers the scientific fact of two sexes – male and female – outdated.
The looseness with which medical schools and government agencies now are treating “science” has spilled over into the corporate arena, where standards for testing and certification have fallen victim to scams and lax regulatory oversight. The Theranos scandal is the most prominent of scientific testing scandals, but a recent decision by a federal judge dismissing claims against a formerly top-selling heartburn medicine, Zantac, which had been accused by a questionable testing firm as being carcinogenic, illustrates that the problem of junk science remains a very real and costly danger.
Welcome to the brave new world of modern medicine.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.