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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH?



WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE
HIPPOCRATIC OATH?

– May 2020

The Hippocratic Oath was once viewed as the gold standard in medicine. Dating back to approximately 400 BC, the oath is perhaps the oldest binding document still existing and available in both its original form and modernized versions. Unfortunately, the classic oath has largely gone out of fashion in the last several decades.

Historically, the Hippocratic Oath required new physicians to swear they would uphold a set of ethical standards. Over the years, the oath has been rewritten repeatedly to suit the values and morals of different times and cultures. Before addressing how the oath has evolved, I will highlight a particular nuance of the classic Hippocratic Oath which may surprise you. While the original Hippocratic Oath did NOT explicitly say, "First, do no harm" (as is commonly attributed to it), it did contain this life-affirming verbiage:
  • I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan, and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.
  • I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.
As you can see, the original oath focused on the preservation of human life. The newest versions of the oath, however, rarely contain this life-affirming language. Peter Paul Ruben, author of The Oath: Meaningless Relic or Invaluable Moral Guide?, states, “Even as the modern oath's use has burgeoned, its content has tacked away from the classical oath's basic tenets. According to a 1993 survey of 150 U.S. and Canadian medical schools, for example, only 14 percent of modern oaths prohibit euthanasia, 11 percent hold covenant with a deity, 8 percent foreswear abortion, and a mere 3 percent forbid sexual contact with patients—all maxims held sacred in the classical version.”  

These findings are probably not all that surprising, given we are living in a world where on-demand abortion, euthanasia, and even infanticide are becoming common and more accepted. Also, when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, the word “physician” was strategically invoked by the euthanasia movement to make assisted suicide appear legitimate. But this appearance is deceiving.

Opponents of the classic Hippocratic Oath argue that a “modern” oath keeps original values in place while meeting the needs of our “advanced” society. However, I would argue the exact opposite is true. We can change and distort the language of the classic oath, but we cannot change morality. It will always be intrinsically evil to kill an innocent person.
WE HEAR YOU!  
Watch for upcoming changes we will be making to the HALO Herald over the next several months. See the end of this newsletter for a summary of your feedback.

THE DOCTOR WAS DEAD WRONG




THE DOCTOR WAS DEAD WRONG

By Nancy Valko, RN
– May 2020


I had a patient in home health whose doctor tried to remove the
ventilator because "his brain stem was destroyed." The wife refused. When I
went in to evaluate him before physical therapy was to start, I found him
alert, talking slowly and using his walker to get around. He even had a
delightful sense of humor! The wife was so glad she had fought the doctors.




PROTECTING THE CONSCIENCE RIGHTS OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS



PROTECTING THE CONSCIENCE RIGHTS OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

By Julie Grimstad, President of HALO
– May 2020

My original plan was to write about the many ways in which medical professionals who reverence human life are, today, being discriminated against for refusing to compromise their deeply held moral or religious beliefs. But who needs another depressing message right now? So, I searched for some good news and found it.

Good News!

On the HHS.gov website, which has a great deal of good news, under the title “Conscience Protections for Health Care Providers” is the following information.

Your Conscience Rights

Conscience protections apply to health care providers who refuse to perform, accommodate, or assist with certain health care services on religious or moral grounds.

Federal statutes protect health care provider conscience rights and prohibit recipients of certain federal funds from discriminating against health care providers who refuse to participate in these services based on moral objections or religious beliefs.

You may file a complaint under the Federal Health Care Provider Conscience Protection Statutes if you believe you have experienced discrimination because you:
  • Objected to, participated in, or refused to participate in specific medical procedures, including abortion and sterilization, and related training and research activities
  • Were coerced into performing procedures that are against your religious or moral beliefs
  • Refused to provide health care items or services for the purpose of causing, or assisting in causing, the death of an individual, such as by assisted suicide or euthanasia
https://www.hhs.gov/conscience/conscience-protections/index.html#conscience-rights

The Bad News: A Big Bully Wants to Take Away These Conscience Protections

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., PhD., a very influential doctor and one of the architects of Obamacare, opposes protection for the conscience rights of health care providers. Considered an expert on medical ethics, he speaks and writes prolifically for both medical journals and general media outlets. The New England Journal of Medicine, April 2017, carried an article (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsb1612472), cowritten by Dr. Emanuel, in which he prescribed certain unjust limits on conscience rights and proclaimed:
Health care professionals who are unwilling to accept these limits have two choices: select an area of medicine, such as radiology, that will not put them in situations that conflict with their personal morality or, if there is no such area, leave the profession. …
Laws may allow physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care workers to deny patients treatment or to refuse to care for particular populations, but professional medical associations should insist that doing so is unethical.
Dr. Emanuel is a big bully using a classic bullying tactic—pushing people around who lack his clout, threatening, “Do it my way, or else.” He is not trying to take away their lunch money; he is trying to force them to participate in abortion, assisted suicide, and other atrocities that may be legal, but will never be morally acceptable.
We Must Speak Up for Those Who Refuse to Violate Their Consciences

Abraham Lincoln said, "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men."

Remember how we stopped a bully on the playground when we were kids. We stuck up for our friends who were being picked on. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care providers who refuse to violate their consciences, despite serious threats, are courageous souls. For them to be able to continue to protect extremely vulnerable patients (who may one day be you and me), we must speak up now in defense of their freedom to do what is morally right.

In today’s health care system, there are many voices like Dr. Emanuel’s. Ours must be louder!

CODE OF ETHICS FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS


 – May 2020


Profound respect for the life and inherent dignity of every human being has always been at the heart of medicine, but that is changing. The law, society, and medicine now endorse morally objectionable medical procedures, forms of under-treatment that pose serious threats to vulnerable patients, and even the direct killing of certain people. This is corroding the values that define the medical professions and undermining public trust in them.

Sadly, many healthcare providers have been influenced by the culture of death which has tainted our healthcare system. Some aspects of the culture of death are obvious, but others are disguised, subtle, and confusing.

HALO is composing a “Code of Ethics” as a guide for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers who desire to provide the best medical care to every patient without bias and to protect those committed to their care from harm and injustice.

We invite you to send your questions about medical ethics and to propose issues that should be addressed to feedback@halovoice.org. Your input will help HALO articulate timeless medical ethics in a manner that meets the needs of healthcare providers today.

Below are five examples of ethical issues we believe are crucially important.

  1. It is the profound obligation and highest privilege of healthcare providers to treat and care for each patient to the best of their ability. Adequate consultation, therefore, is required when there is doubt concerning the morality of some procedure and/or when a procedure involves serious consequences.
  2. An action or omission intended to cause or facilitate a human being’s death is contrary to the healthcare provider’s role as healer and/or caregiver. Thus, healthcare providers must refuse to participate in any form of abortion, euthanasia, or assisted suicide.
  3. The failure to provide nutrition and hydration and other ordinary means of preserving life, when the omission will cause or hasten death, is equivalent to euthanasia.
  4. All human beings share a common dignity from the first moment of their creation. Therefore, a human life, at any stage of development or age, must never be used as a subject for experimentation without their free and fully informed consent.
  5. Every person has the right and the duty to prepare for the moment of death by setting in order both temporal and spiritual affairs. Therefore, unless a patient who may die soon is well-prepared for death, it is the physician’s duty to inform, or have another responsible person inform, the patient of his or her critical condition.
In addition to questions and proposals for more ethical issues to address, please feel free to suggest improvements in the wording of these principles. Again, HALO’s email address is feedback@halovoice.org.  Thank you!


We Heard YOU!
HALO Herald Survey Responses.

– May 2020
 
Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. Your feedback helps ensure our HALO Herald e-newsletter is relevant, informative and interesting. Here is what you said:
  • All respondents reported they find value in reading the HALO Herald!
  • 30% of respondents indicated they would prefer a shorter newsletter while 70% reported that an adjustment is not needed to the length of the newsletter.
  • When asked about the desired frequency of the newsletter, 70% indicated they would like to retain the monthly frequency while 30% indicated they would like the frequency to be two times per month.
  • 60% of respondents indicated they would like the format of the newsletter changed to a 1-paragraph summary of each article. Each summary paragraph would contain a link to the full article.
  • When asked if articles in a single newsletter should be dedicated to a specific theme or focus area (E.g., Assisted Suicide) as opposed to including articles on various topics, it was a 50/50 split.
  • We also heard some general suggestions including the following:
    • Provide information that will assist everyone in addressing end-of-life issues with their doctors.
    • Address if organ donation is a recommended practice.
    • Include more statistics from groups that deal with Assisted Suicide.
    • Provide healthcare workers with pro-life information including suggestions on how to deal with colleagues on these issues.
    • Share healthcare worker prolife conversion success stories.
Changes to HALO Herald coming next month!
Did you miss the survey but still want to provide feedback?
That’s not a problem – simply send an email to feedback@HALOvoice.org.

ATTENTION READERS

If you are in a position to help HALO financially—and ONLY if you are positioned to do so—your generous donation at this time is crucially important. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated.
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Donations are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows. Please send checks only to:
HALO, 7301 Bass Lake Rd, Minneapolis, MN 554283.

HALO MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization is to promote, protect, and advocate for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient and family interactions; through community education and awareness programs; and through promotion and development of concrete *"life-affirming healthcare"* alternatives for those facing the grave consequences of healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

*"Life-affirming healthcare" is defined as medical care in which the paramount principle is the sanctity of life, which means that the life and safety of each person come first and each person receives medical care across their lifespan based on their need for care and never with an intention to hasten death, regardless of their abilities or perceived "quality of life."

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