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The Hypocritical Oath

The medical profession has not been immune from criticism about its treatment of patients base on race. Not being a physician, I have no personal knowledge of whether this is accurate. None of the physicians with whom I’m friends tell me they see it, but the stats suggest that medical outcomes differ significantly by race, so it’s hard to believe that judgment calls don’t play some role. And not a good role.

As a result, medical schools have emphasized DEI, some to the point of it being more important than medical knowledge and skills, which isn’t likely to do any patient, regardless of race, much good. If your doc respectfully uses your pronouns as you suffer with pain, no one is saved. And that metamorphosis is now coming to hospitals, like Milford Regional Medical Center in Massachusetts, which has established a policy of refusing to treat patients whose tone offends them.

Many will immediately leap to the Hippocratic Oath, the one that goes “first, do no harm.” But it’s often replaced at white coat ceremonies with swearing allegiance to DEI and, frankly, was more a right of passage than an oath to be taken seriously anyway. The Massachusetts Medical Society has a Code of Ethics, but it’s unclear what that brings to the table.

I. A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.

Does respect for human dignity mean treating someone who uses vulgar language or preventing others from being exposed to vulgar language? Or does it mean whatever you want it to mean whenever it suits you?

VI. A physician shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, except in emergencies, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical services.

This is similar to the rule for lawyers, which provides that we can pick and choose who to represent. Certainly, a physician can refuse a patient in his office who behaves in a matter she deems unacceptable. But what about a public defender? What about a hospital? Is there no safety net for the client or patient who, under the prevailing sensibilities, is deemed the “wrong sort” of person?

That an exception is made for emergencies seems to half answer the question. A doc can’t leave the person bleeding at the ER door. But once the bleeding has stopped, can the guy with the swastika tat on his forehead be left in the gutter?

IX. A physician shall support access to medical care for all people.

Support is not the same thing as provide, and perhaps Dr. Peter Smulowitz of the Milford Regional Medical Center supports medical care for people who use a vulgar tone or offensive body language. Just not at his hospital.

It’s not that physicians or other patients shouldn’t prefer a “space” where they are not subjected to speech, conduct or tone that they find offensive. Nobody wants to be offended, and nobody wants to invite offense, whatever that may be. But the idea that medical care will only be divvied out to the woke cannot be reconciled with the belief that everyone should be able to access medical care, even if someone finds them offensive.

That medical students are being indoctrinated into this mindset, where “correct” ideology is the precursor to proper medical care, suggest that what’s happening at Milford will be happening at a doctor’s office and hospital near you. And as it becomes more acceptable to shun inappropriate patients, don’t be surprised to find vulgar tone raised as an affirmative defense to medical malpractice.

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