First, I simply refuse to admit that a conspiracy exists. I believe that most physicians truly care about their patients.
Second, it has always been difficult for me to pin the title of “ignorant” on any human being that completes medical training. Misled, yes. But ignorant, no! But there is one option left that we haven’t examined, and it needs to be addressed. Let’s re-address that question again; could they possibly be so ignorant? By defining the word “they”, we may uncover where the ignorance might be based. Have you ever read the Hippocratic Oath? Let me share both versions with you, verbatim. Wait – did I say both versions?
I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant: To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art, if they desire to learn it, without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but to no one else. I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work. Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves. What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself holding such things shameful to be spoken about. If I fulfill this path and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, 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 and agreement: To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art; and that by my teaching, I will impart a knowledge of this art to my own sons, and to my teacher’s sons, and to disciples bound by an indenture and oath according to the medical laws, and no others. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art. In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all humanity and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my life.
OK, you’ve now read both versions…right? We’ll address the differences in these two documents in my November KNOW THIS article, but for purposes of this issue, let’s just stick to the italicized paragraph in the original Hippocratic Oath. Do you see how submissive and beholden graduating physicians learn to be toward their professors? The first thing that came to my mind decades ago when I first read this was, “That’s nice, but what if their professors are wrong?” Being trained to be so submissive, one gets the feeling that if students were taught to recommend eating caterpillars for their deep vein thrombosis patients, it simply became gospel, but no one ever questioned or doubted it!
You’re beginning to see that the “they” I referred to was medical school professors, not the physicians themselves. Given the complacency that exists today in monitoring “professional fees” paid by drug companies to professors, few of us read or even think about the corruptio