The Hippocratic oath, long presumed to be the promise that doctors make to do no harm to their patients, has been tweaked, ever so slightly, here in the United States. I have sensed for a long time now that some of my health providers are becoming a little over zealous about certain drugs that they would like to prescribe for me.
My feeling is that the medical definition for “abnormal” has been altered in order to allow a larger percentage of the population fall into the new “abnormal,” definition. More patients with more problems mean more money.
Needless exams, follow-ups and prescribed drugs, means a lot of anxiety for the patient and a lot of money for drug companies who then reward doctors for selling their drugs.
It is no wonder that health care is the fastest growing industry and largest employment sector in the US.
Companies like GlaxoSmithKline are prime examples of why the health sector is doing so well. The recent scandal regarding GSK’s payments to doctors in order to push drugs such as Wellbutrin, just one of many drugs, provided the concrete evidence of things that I had suspected for a long time.
These doctors supposedly took an oath; an oath to do no harm to their patients, an oath to not over-treat and use understanding when there is no prescription cure. Instead of thinking of the patient first, doctors who fell under the spell of drug companies like GSK put themselves first.
“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 chemist’s drug.”