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The Moral Crisis in Modern Medicine

Ancient Faith Today Live: The Moral Crisis in Modern Medicine (w/ Dr. Alexandros Nicolozakes)

Video from Ancient Faith

The Moral Crisis in Modern Medicine

"About us: Ancient Faith Ministries exists to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through accessible and excellently-crafted publications and creative media that educate, edify, and evangelize, leading to a living experience of God through His Holy Orthodox Church. Ancient Faith Ministries is a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America with a pan-Orthodox outreach. Ancient Faith Today Live: The Moral Crisis in Modern Medicine (w/ Dr. Alexandros Nicolozakes)." from video introduction

"Dr. Alexandros Nicolozakes, MD is a cardiologist in Wooster, Ohio. He is currently licensed to practice medicine in Ohio. He is affiliated with Wooster Community Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, and Summa Health System." from

The Physician's Oath: Historical Perspectives

"Doctor–patient relationship is the heart of medicine. It provides an important framework for the conduct of patients and physicians. The encounter has been the subject of considerable discussion and analysis throughout the centuries. Concepts covered range from matters of etiquette to profound questions of philosophical and moral conduct such as abortion, euthanasia, and end-of-life issues. As a profession, medicine has dealt with these moral issues. The physician, because of his/her special status, acts for the good of the patient. The nature of the physician's job requires moral conduct and accountability. Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies, and cultures. The oaths or pledges that we take or swear allegiance to act as guidelines to a moral dilemma. The doctrines in the oaths allow doctors, patients, and families to generate a treatment plan without any conflict. There are several codes of medical ethics that can be followed. In this article, we shall consider the history and evolution of the different oaths that we as physicians are bound to follow. Many medical schools administer these pledges upon graduation. INFORMED MEDICAL CONSENT In modern times, informed consent is central to the practice of medicine. It covers both health care and the law. There are so many issues related to informed consent that are beyond the scope of this article to discuss. Doctors and lawyers deal with ethical issues and their life fascinates the public so that they are often the subject of movies or TV series. Currently, I am watching on Netflix “The Good Wife,” a title that intrigues me endlessly, but never mind. I am currently in Season 4. The Good Wife–a lawyer–went to work for a law firm after her husband–a public official–was forced to resign because of a sex scandal and was put in jail because of corruption. The wife had to go back to work, in a law firm, after being a homemaker for so many years. The law firm advises and represents clients, either individuals or corporations, about their legal rights. Of the many and varied cases, the firm represented were clients involved in health care. There were doctors acting as expert witnesses or being accused of causing an adverse reaction to a drug, and clients accusing doctors of a crime such as dishonesty or even murder. It was interesting to watch lawyers trying to manipulate or finding loopholes in the law to suit their case. Today, hospitals and doctors get a patient to sign an informed consent form, especially before a procedure, to protect the hospital and doctors from law suits. Informed consent is so fundamental and important to modern medicine that we should all be familiar with its subtleties. At the heart of informed consent is respect for a person's dignity. It requires that the patient must have adequate reasoning and be in possession of all relevant facts about the proposed treatment. If a patient is considered unable to give informed consent, another person is generally authorized to give consent on his/her behalf, for example, parents or legal guardians. Serious ethical issues come up if the patient is considered unable to give informed consent. There are also situations where a normal patient is provided insufficient information to form a reasoned decision so that lawyers step in. Examples are cases in clinical trials in medical research but these are usually anticipated and prevented by an ethics committee or institutional review board. In our institution, there is an ethics committee or medical review board who must consent to a research project. This is for the protection of the hospital, physicians, and patients..." from the article: The Physician's Oath: Historical Perspectives

The Hippocratic Oath: The Original & Revised Version

"Life is short, the art long; Hippocrates once said of the art and science of medicine. The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, upheld high standards for treating patients and laid down these rules for all to-be physicians to follow. His testament came to be taken as an oath on finishing medical school, as a rite of passage.

The Hippocratic Oath is the oldest and most widely known treatise on medical ethics. It requires new physicians to swear by numerous healing gods and dictates the duties and responsibilities of the physician while treating patients. There are two versions of the Hippocratic Oath: the original one and the modern one. The need for a revision was felt as drastic procedures like abortions & surgeries became commonplace and medically valid, questioning a physician’s morals anew.

Let’s consider the classical one:

The Classic Hippocratic Oath

"I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment.
I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master's children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.
With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.
Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.
Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.
I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons.
Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free.
Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.
If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate!"

This Hippocratic Oath has been modified and revised several times. In 1960, the words “utmost respect for life from its beginning” were added, making it a more secular concept, not to be taken in the presence of gods but in front of other people.

The Oath was rewritten in 1964 by Dr. Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean at Tufts University School of Medicine and this revised form is widely accepted in today’s medical schools. The modern or revised version of Hippocratic Oath is.." from the article: The Hippocratic Oath: The Original & Revised Version

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