Although not required, many physicians and health care professionals take an oath to stay ethically and morally true in providing the best and highest quality of care possible. This is known as the Hippocratic Oath.
“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”
“I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.”
“I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”
“I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”
“I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.”
When I go to the doctor, these are ethics and values that I inherently expect in regards to the care I will receive. I am putting my life and trust in the care that is being provided by that individual. I also expect that care to be without judgement. Luckily, I live in New York State; but for all you folks out in Arizona, sorrryyyy…not so much.
The State senate passed a bill this week which will in effect allow a doctor the right to lie to regarding any potential birth defects of fetus in an attempt to discourage abortions. If this is not unethical, I’m really not sure I understand what ethics are at all. Why even have them?
Of all the arguments to be raised regarding this (and there are plenty), perhaps my biggest concern is the strain that this puts on a family, who now does not have time to adequately prepare for their special needs child. When a family finds out that their child potentially has birth defects in advance, they might utilize that time to hold benefits to raise money to pay for upcoming medical bills. They may take the time to make modifications to their home to increase their child’s quality of life. At minimum, they may have a period of time to learn and understand the impacts of what this could mean for the undoubtedly arduous road that lies ahead, so they can prepare for the worst and cherish the best possible outcomes. All because a doctor might have some type of inkling that their patient may choose to have an abortion. It’s MIGHT be a possibility. So if a couple is, let’s say, on the younger end of the spectrum. The doctor can now say “nope, not telling them their child has xyz; they might get an abortion and that’s just not ok with me!” and they will be LEGALLY protected to do so. Meanwhile, that couple could have had no intention of aborting their child and now, they are stuck without anytime to prepare, or learn, any way to cope with the struggle to come; they also can’t do shit about it, because that doctor would be protected by law.
If a child’s life is so precious, Arizona, you’re really missing the mark on this one.