As America experiences a contagion known as cowardice, doctors are suggesting shirking their responsibilities and standing idly by as corona patients that can be saved, die on their hospital beds. Doctors plan to do this irrespective of the wishes of the patient or the family. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has announced it is considering implementing an across-the-board do-not-resuscitate order for all patients with corona. Patients are told not to worry, however, everything will be all right since the hospital will only proceed if the Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, approves it, making everything okay. Somehow the whims of politicians have been confused with the hard-earned concept of ethics. According to a
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As America experiences a contagion known as cowardice, doctors are suggesting shirking their responsibilities and standing idly by as corona patients that can be saved, die on their hospital beds. Doctors plan to do this irrespective of the wishes of the patient or the family.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has announced it is considering implementing an across-the-board do-not-resuscitate order for all patients with corona. Patients are told not to worry, however, everything will be all right since the hospital will only proceed if the Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, approves it, making everything okay.
Somehow the whims of politicians have been confused with the hard-earned concept of ethics.
According to a Washington Post article on the topic “Richard Wunderink, one of Northwestern’s intensive-care medical directors, said hospital administrators have asked Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for help in clarifying state law and whether it permits the policy shift.”
That’s an odd thing to do since “clarifying state law,” is not among an Illinois governor’s, or any state executive’s, responsibilities. Pritzker is evidently the law clarifier of the state as well as the chief morality officer.
Rather than turn to the state legislature or a judge, why did Northwestern turn to the Governor of Illinois to relieve the hospital and their doctors of their ethical and legal obligations to patients?
A 2015 press release from Northwestern entitled “Pritzker Family Makes Unprecedented Gift to Northwestern Law,” tells some of the story. Pritzker, then a trustee to Northwestern, and an alumnus, made a $100 million gift to the law school. That was the biggest gift ever to any law school. Northwestern Law School now bears the governor’s family name.
Illinois politicians have a long history of a behavior called “pay-to-play.” You give a politician some money, he plays nice with you and does you a favor or two. The current Governor of Illinois appears to have misunderstood how pay-to-play actually works. He’s acting like an unpopular kid trying to buy. Nonetheless, what Northwestern proposes is just as twisted, likely illegal, and certainly unethical as the standard pay-to-play: having a buddy and key donor bend the law to help them out of their bind.
The reason cited for this desire to sit by and watch patients die, despite the wishes of their loved ones, is because when a patient needs to be resuscitated it can be a messy procedure that may make it easier for medical staff to acquire Covid-19.
That is, however, the profession that they trained for and voluntarily took a job in. If doctors didn’t want to be around nasty germs, they shouldn’t have become doctors. Is any detail about being a doctor more obvious than that? They should have given their spot in medical school to someone a little more eager to do the less glamorous parts of the job. Some of us out here walking among the commoners find few things more glamorous than the gift of life and the act of keeping people alive. Even after medical school, they could have chosen other work.
The medical profession is well-paid, highly competitive to enter, and as a whole, well-insulated from market forces by their anti-competitive “labor union” the American Medical Association and various other groups.
The Hippocratic Oath, which is not taken by all doctors in the United States, but which illustrates aspects of the professional ethics of being a doctor, instructs doctors to, among other things vow:
“I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art….
“Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I break it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me.”
It is more of a hypocritical oath if it only applies during times when doctors feel like applying it.
As corona spreads, we’ve seen politicians, media, and sadly, also public health professionals, who should know better, exacerbate the fear, as if channeling Chicken Little.
In the face of that, business owners, clergy, and now even doctors have tragically exhibited such tremendous cowardice.
The author of the above-cited Washington Post article about the decision at Northwestern, Ariana Eunjung Cha, justifies this sick, anti-social behavior of the mass do-not-resuscitate order by deferring to the anti-medical notion of collectivism, calling it “a wrenching decision to prioritize the lives of the many over the one.”
To further inject her rotten anti-social politics into the idea of medical treatment, the purportedly unbiased author creates a red herring and then invites the topic of privilege and pragmatism into the debate of what level of treatment is ethical for a patient to receive. Cha writes “While the idea of withholding treatments may be unsettling, especially in a country as wealthy as ours, it is pragmatic.”
I’m not sure how I would react to a wet-behind-the-ears resident telling me that saving a loved one was just not “pragmatic,” but I anticipate it would not be well-received by me.
The field of public health, with its roots among Malthusians, Marxists, and other collectivists in England in the late 1800s, is the polar opposite of medicine. Physicians have their roots in the Greek tradition, see the patient as an individual, and uphold the work of the doctor to unquestioningly save the individual.
As the field of public health increasingly dabbles in medicine, and intellectual lightweights are turned to for advice on the ethics of medicine, the Greek philosophical roots that have made medicine such a noble calling are gradually worn away at.
Mandatory vaccinations, death panels, artificial governmental rationing of medical procedures and supplies, mass fluoridation of water, and a host of other intrusions in the life of individuals are not in line with the philosophical roots of medicine, in which the patient is seen as an individual deserving of treatment to the sole benefit of that individual.
These ideas are instead in line with the collectivist roots of public health, in which the existence and value of individuals are perversely dismissed in exchange for talk of populations, discussions of statistics, and obsessions over surveys. These approaches are not only sociopathic, and philosophically misdirected, they also fail to provide the utility they claim to provide.
In the midst of the coronavirus, the once heroic members of the medical profession appear to have turned into timorous, easily spooked little rats.
Hospital administrator is a career path long seen as populated by less-than-heroic rats themselves.
It may therefore not be a shock when hospital administrators, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in these cowardly times, congregate alongside doctors, watching sick patients die as quickly as is expedient for the collective, so that another bed can be made available and so that everyone, but the patient, can go home safely, where a government check for their anti-social behavior awaits them in gratitude for a job well done.
In the year 2020, in a historic moment, when its ethics and skill are most needed, this cowardice is what has become of the American medical community, at one of the most well-regarded teaching hospitals globally.