Dr Gwen Adshead in her essay “The doctor’s dilemma: is it ever good to do harm?” in the Guardian suggests it was at the Nuremberg trials that “‘modern’ medical ethics developed out of an examination of medical authority after the second world war, partly in response to the Nuremberg trials of doctors who had used medicine to torment and kill citizens…”
What doctor Adshead fails to mention but which Professor Margaret Somerville points out in her article “Between Past and Future: Learning from Indigenous Wisdom in the Euthanasia Debate” (link) is that “… the origins of the Holocaust in German doctors’ involvement in small, allegedly well-motivated and compassionate medical acts and the justifications used to validate these acts carry serious warnings that deserve attention in the current debate.”
One need not return to Nuremberg to find do-harm doctors; some gems can be found in the present and recent history. (And by the way, to answer Doctor Adshead’s question, one cannot do good by doing harm. To choose to do an act that’s in itself bad/evil, you can’t take away its intrinsically bad/evil character, even if ‘using’ it to lead to a result you think is good.)
We have the egotists who admire their own work so much they put their name to it (link)! There’s also the renegade individuals like Harold Shipman but they are rare. More harm is done by doctors with a lot of backing.
Lauren Knapp in her interview with Dr Carlo Musso, whom she calls the Death Row Doctor, says in her New York Times interview with him: “One of the core pillars of medicine is ‘do no harm.’ So how do the physicians who take part in the American institution of capital punishment rationalise their involvement?” She answers her question thus: “Ultimately, I came to see Dr. Musso as an ordinary man in an extraordinary position — but not so different from the way we all justify flawed institutions to which we belong,” but not before informing us:
Nearly every professional medical organization, including the American College of Correctional Physicians, agrees that lethal injections are not the practice of medicine. The protocols are not scientifically sound and procedures vary widely from state to state. Yet many states require nurse or physician participation.
(If it is wrong to lethally inject criminals, why is it ok to do it to the innocent before birth? How do doctors justify it?) Knapp also tells us Dr Musso “… has faced a complaint for helping the Georgia Department of Correction illegally import execution drugs and sell them across state lines (after investigation, no action was taken).”
Meet another physician who has state backing, in fact many states.
President Bashar Al-AssadRemember President Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria, is a doctor and implicated by a UN report as a war criminal. According to Amnesty International: “Saydnaya Prison is where the Syrian state quietly slaughters its own people.” Amnesty’s article continues:
Every week, often twice per week, between 20 and 50 people are taken from their cells to be hanged, in the middle of the night. As many as 13,000 people have been killed in Saydnaya since 2011, in utmost secrecy. Many other people at Saydnaya have been killed after being repeatedly tortured and systematically deprived of food, water, medicine and medical care. The bodies of those who are killed at Saydnaya are taken away by the truckload and buried in mass graves. It is inconceivable that these large-scale and systematic practices have not been authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government.
That’s just a taste of the cruelty, and the man behind it… Bashar al-Assad.
According to Wikipedia: “In 1988, Assad graduated from medical school at Damascus University and began working as an army doctor at the Tishrin military hospital on the outskirts of Damascus. Four years later, he went to the United Kingdom to begin postgraduate training in ophthalmology at the Western Eye Hospital in London.” It also states: “In March 2015, Rapp further stated that the case against Assad is ‘much better’ than those against Slobodan Milošević of Serbia or Charles Taylor of Liberia, both of whom were indicted by international tribunals. (Assad’s personal website http://www.presidentassad.net/ provides a different profile.)
Radovan Karadžić Radovan Karadžić qualified as a psychiatrist. His entry on Wikipedia tells us:
Karadžić moved to Sarajevo in 1960 to study psychiatry at the Sarajevo University School of Medicine. He studied neurotic disorders and depression at Næstved Hospital in Denmark in 1970, and during 1974-75 he underwent further medical training at Columbia University in New York. After his return to Yugoslavia, he worked in the Koševo Hospital in Sarajevo.
According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica:
On July 25 and again on November 16, 1995, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), held in The Hague, indicted him for crimes that included genocide, murder, rape, and other mistreatment of civilians. As the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Karadžić was held responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Serb-held areas of Bosnia, during which tens of thousands of Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats were killed or driven from their homes in what has been called the most atrocious instance of genocide committed in Europe since the close of World War II. The most heinous act attributed to Karadžić was the ordering of the murder of more than 7,000 Bosniaks in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995.
As well as a man to help the sick he was a poet and wrote children’s books. How sweet!
Do-Harm Doctors in Civilized Democracies
But do-harm doctors are found in Western democracies too. We’ve already seen the American executioners. One example from a recent comment titled When Doctors First Do Harm in the New York Times informs us, “… Doctors helped to design a waterboarding method more brutal than what even lawyers for the George W. Bush administration allowed… There have been no public indications that any refused to go along [with the torture programme].”
“The CIA physicians who helped to design the torture program remain anonymous,” Prof Bloche tells us. He says: “Behind this cloak of invisibility they have acted as a rogue profession, contemptuous of medicine’s Hippocratic commitments to patients.”
(The CIA Guidelines on torture are available here: excerpt or open here as a pdf)
Enculturated Medical Killing
With medical killing becoming increasingly enculturated at least the CIA doctors, it can be argued, didn’t openly and actively kill the innocent but there are countless doctors who do. These UK doctors were happy to do so for monetary gain as revealed by a Daily Telegraph investigation: Sex-selective abortion. It suited British Asians who have a well-known preference for male children. One of the doctors involved admitted it was tantamount to “female infanticide”. Protestations by feminists was deafeningly silent.
One of the doctors was finally suspended for three months. That was despite the protests of the Crown Prosecution Service, the very body that should have prosecuted him. It defended what was illegal.
Dr Patricia Lohr, the medical director of BPAS, is quoted as saying in 2011 that she finds performing abortions “gratifying”. Mr Hajj Abd Al-Nabi found his job satisfying. While he may not have as many notches on his belt as the physician, they both share a similar morbid penchant to annihilate.¹ Please meet Mr Al-Nabi. Here he is.
In Canada doctors must now provide “effective referral” for a patient seeking assisted suicide. To quote Professor George Weigel:
In Ontario today, doctors who decline to euthanize their patients are required to provide what is termed, in the Orwellian vocabulary of the culture of death, an “effective referral”: They are obliged, on pain of losing their license to practice, to send a troubled patient to a doctor of lighter conscience who will kill that patient.
Medical killing is becoming so enculturated in the West that a recent disturbing case of euthanasia in the Netherlands was subsequently dismissed (because she had “acted in good faith”) when the case was referred to the Regional Review Committee.
The Daily Mail reported in January this year: “Female Dutch doctor secretly² drugged a patient’s coffee then asked her family to hold her down as she fought not to be killed – but did not break the country’s euthanasia laws.” We are told: “It also revealed that the patient said several times ‘I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned [killing her] because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress”!
China’s Doctors Remove Organs to Order
Which leaves us in a poor position to criticize China and its doctors’ well-documented policy of removing prisoners’ organs to sell as transplant organs (livers, kidneys and corneas), removed to order. Some are killed and some are not. Prisoners are either alive or killed for the purpose. Not all victims are prisoners; Falun Gong members are frequently victims. Some sources estimate 60,000 – 100,000 people are killed for their organs each year.
With our own do-harm doctors how are we to take seriously the self-righteous protests of the – ironically – British, Canadian and American doctors in this promotional video for stoporganharvesting.org?
It’s too easy to perceive them as hypocrites.
The Medical Necrotization of Culture
The West is so fixated on a distorted understanding of autonomy – and consequently personal choice – that we are now in a legal, medical, political and ethical muddle, undermining Western history, culture, values and traditions. Western governments have, as shown above, either directed, condoned or excused do-harm doctors who have been shallow enough to comply.
Hahnemann and Homeopathy are Life-Enhancing
In contrast to this do-harm medicine Hahnemann, who regarded medicine as a noble profession, saw the role of the homeopath/physician as a mission,³ sent by the “Preserver of life”, the “Preserver of mankind”, with the remedial agents provided by this “All-wise Preserver.”4 In his Lesser Writings (The Medical Observer, page 814) Hahnemann explains why the practise of Homeopathy is a positive life-enhancing “calling”. After explaining the training that makes a physician a good observer (studying the best Greek and Roman writers, doing maths and drawing scenes from nature) he writes:
Thus equipped, the medical observer cannot fail to accomplish his object, especially if he has constantly before his eyes the exalted dignity of his calling as the representative of the all bountiful Father and Preserver, to minister to His beloved human creatures, by renovating their systems when ravaged by disease. He knows that observations of medical subjects must be made in a sincere and holy spirit, as if under the eye of the all-seeing God, the Judge of our secret thoughts, and must be recorded so as to satisfy an upright conscience, in order that they may be communicated to the world, in the consciousness that no earthly good is more worthy of our zealous exertions than the preservation of the life and the health of our fellow creatures.
Working contrary to this is to go against our mission.
¹ A question for homeopaths. Would a similimum for Dr Lohr and Mr Al-Nabi be found in the animal, mineral or plant kingdoms? Perhaps an animal remedy; an animal that kills its young for Lohr and an animal the kills by constricting its prey for Al-Nabi – possibly a snake remedy for the loquacious little man..? (A comment on the translation for the video is here).
Regarding CIA doctors; are they naturally cruel or do they suffer an excessive sense of duty, akin to the infamous Adolf Eichmann?
² Such deceitful prescribing contravenes the Irish Society of Homeopathy’s and the UK Society of Homeopaths’ code of ethics as does prescribing a substance to induce a termination.
³ The word “mission” is used three times by Hahnemann in the Organon in reference to the work of the homeopath. “Mission” means “send”, therefore implying a Sender and consequently being a homeopath/physician takes on the gravitas of something more than just a job; a vocation.
4 For example, the word “Preserver” appears five times in Hahnemann’s Lesser Writings (link or here) and five times in the Organon (link). References to the [beneficent] “Creator” who supplied our remedies to relieve “suffering humanity” appears seventeen times in the Lesser Writings (link). In case critics misunderstand, Hahnemann certainly was not pious but always remained objective and philosophical.
On China’s organ harvesting much is available. Videos as well as newspaper reports: Daily Mail; Daily Telegraph; Irish Times; The Independent and Natural News cover the scandal over many years. Books by David Matas are informative such as State Organs and Bloody Harvest.
Canada forcing doctors to comply with euthanasia, therefore forcing them to forgo their consciences: link
Medical Torture entry in Wikipedia
President Assad: Wikipedia
Radovan Karadžić wikipedia
Hippocratic Oath: Wellcome Trust via Wikipedia