Compare and contrast the Hippocratic Oath with the reality faced by men and women who are dealing with Substance Use Disorder, addicted, and reliant on Medicaid…
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
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
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
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 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.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
—Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.
And now read this, an all too common account of what a patient of Substance Use Disorder in the active grips of addition faces when that human being decides it's time to seek treatment…
I have personally been
to several crisis centers in Philadelphia.
A few months ago, I went to one and sat for about 13 hours in a waiting
room so so sick shaking and sweating and vomiting everywhere and all for them
to come out and tell me that there were no beds and said to come back the next
day to try again.
Mind you I was very
very sick and when they told me that, I asked them what should I do as I was
laying on their bathroom floor vomiting everywhere and it looked like someone
had sprayed a hose on me because I was dripping wet. My clothes were soaked and I was flopping on
the floor like a fish out of water.
The doctor said to me "I
don't know what to do." She said
she cannot give me anything because I am not admitted and there are no beds. So they asked me where would I like to go to
because they will call a cab for me. As
I was waiting for the cab, security and a nurse came outside to me and asked me
what I was doing and I said "You told me you are calling a cab." The nurse said, "We did not call one and
you have to get off of the property!"
Mind you I had no
money and I was so sick so I ended up walking to the EL. The SEPTA personnel told me I cannot go
through without money and I told them that I just came from the hospital. I showed them paperwork and they still said "No"
so I ended up jumping the train and the SEPTA personnel hit the alarm!
So thank God the train
came before any cops got there so I was fine.
As I was on the train I dropped to the floor and had a seizure. When I woke up people were standing around me
and they were waiting for the ambulance but I jumped up and said no and got
back on the next train and got off at Somerset station and had to find a way to
My experience that day with the crisis center made me so sick to my stomach thinking that I really wanted to get clean and I really wanted help and nobody helped.
How was the Hippocratic Oath upheld and honored that day?…
That day repeats itself multiple times each and every day and is doing so as you read this…