By Paul Russell - Director of Hope Australia
The invocation of the Oath attributed to Hippocrates as a reason why doctors should not be involved in either directly killing a patient or in providing them with counsel towards or the means to commit suicide is not the lay-down-misere that it perhaps once was. Raising the ancient oath will be swiftly met by the assertion that doctors don’t take that oath anymore.
This is not to say that the intentions of Hippocrates and medical associations ever since that a doctor should not kill nor be involved in providing for a person to kill themselves is redundant. Not at all. But the appeal to an historic and binding context and to a tradition that re-enforced natural human rights from antiquity just doesn’t seem to cut it in our post-modern world.
Nothing new here in reality – the lack of critical thought and the lack of a natural pause to consider whether or not the rhetoric drip fed to us by an uncritical and sometimes pro-change media can be anything other than right is something that those of an alternate view lament.
How else can we account for the abuse of our language and of concepts and human rights? When polls suggest that the majority of any surveyed group can accept that concepts like compassion and human dignity can embrace killing, then we know that there’s a problem.