The Hippocratic Oath does not actually contain the phrase “First, do no harm” but it is generally accepted as part of the moral guide regardless of its exclusion from the formal declaration. The lengthy Hippocratic discourse entitled “Epidemics”, written about 400 BC, does include a similar thought: “As to diseases, make a habit of two things - to help, or at least, to do no harm.”
Ironically, the first recorded administration of the Hippocratic Oath in a medical school setting was in 1508 at the Wittenberg University in Germany. However, it was not until the twentieth century that American medical graduates took the oath. This was motivated by the grisly discoveries of the medical atrocities perpetrated against unwilling, helpless victims by the Nazis during World War II. Currently almost all United States medical schools administer a professional oath to one degree or another though it has been changed as moral values have plunged.
A recent issue of the very liberal Chicago Sun Times contained two adjacent articles commemorating the 60 year anniversary of the Russian liberation of Auschwitz, the notorious death camp, on 27 January 1945. The title of one article was “Ethicists Warn Doctors of Nazi Medical Horrors; Cruel experiments, sterilizations, murders: Could it happen here?”
Actually the United States passed forced sterilization laws in half of the states in the 1920’s. This law applied to the criminally insane and others. The first German sterilization law was not enacted until July 14, 1933 - six months after Hitler became Chancellor. It was referred to as The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring. This law provided for the sterilization of anyone afflicted with genetic blindness, hereditary deafness, manic depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, congenital feeblemindedness and alcoholism.
The article contains the glowing report about the state of medicine in pre Hitler Germany. Researchers had been awarded Nobel Prizes. Medical education and health services were decades ahead in promoting such things as breast cancer screening and anti-smoking campaigns. Their advanced knowledge made them the envy of the world, a status America currently enjoys. Privileged individuals with sufficient money or clout come to America for medical care unavailable in their own countries.
There is a definite correlation between the lack of human respect and decency with regard to the way humans treat each other and their adherence to Christian values. While many agnostic secularists claim characteristics of morality, they more often view life strictly in economic terms. German society increasingly became more secular and godless under Hitler. Nations cannot exclude the Great Lawgiver without dire consequences to the governed.
Under Hitler, laws were enacted affecting the status of certain citizens. By defining some human beings as subhuman, Nazi medical science categorized them as scientific specimens. These unfortunate individuals lacked the protection accorded dogs and cats from the German laws. People of Jewish ethnicity became undesirables. The mentally challenged, the old or feeble were consuming resources that could have been used by others.
When human beings are no longer viewed as people but as sub humans, sucking up diminishing resources, then they become expendable. A group of wicked men creating laws contrary to the laws of God apparently had more impact on the moral principles of more than 200 Jekyll and Hyde doctors who ultimately used their God-given talents to perform medical experiments on thousands of unwilling inmates. The moral dispositions of otherwise well educated, good doctors changed according to shifting government policies or regulations.
With the exception of sixteen individuals found guilty of crimes against humanity, most of these doctors escaped the criminal consequences of their abhorrent actions. Only seven doctors were executed. Many German doctors continued to practice medicine after the war.
The Sun Times article presented the premise: “Sixty years after the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, today’s doctors can still learn from the Nazi’s perversion of medicine.”
Exactly what can we learn from this example of doctors acting abhorrently? Do we learn or merely repeat the same socially destructive mistakes, assuming we will somehow escape the consequences?
People are often shocked, sickened and disgusted by what transpired under Hitler. Contemporary Germans remark: “I cannot comprehend the cruelty, how our parents and grandparents could have gone along with this.” We might even question how we would have behaved towards individuals disenfranchised by our government. Would you or I embrace barbaric behavior because of civil law or would we courageously stand up for a higher law? Do we stand up; speak up for a higher law?
Prior to 1973 there undoubtedly were doctors who would never consider offering abortion on a regular basis for healthy babies and mothers. Medical morals drastically changed after the corruption of our Constitutional law perpetrated by the Supreme Court. Obviously one of the vows contained in the Hippocratic Oath caused some modern physicians discomfort. Believing in the sanctity of life, the early Hippocratic Greeks pledged never to participate in abortion. Apparently if the constitution can be altered so can the Oath. This is situational ethics – always a very sandy foundation. As of 1993, only 8 percent of the American medical schools that use the Oath still include a prohibition on abortion.
I do not know the number of American doctors who routinely perform abortions. Considering the number of abortions, about 44 million, performed since 1973 there must be quite a large number of physicians engaged in this abominable practice. There are several methods that abortionists use – all of them inhumane: Abortion Methods
Salt Poisoning (saline injection): This solution is injected into the baby’s sac. The baby swallows it and is poisoned. The solution also acts as a corrosive and burns the top layer of skin off the infant. It takes about an hour for the baby to die. The female usually goes into labor within 24 hours and gives birth to a dead or dying baby. If the baby is still alive, it is left unattended until it dies.
Suction Aspiration: This is the most common for babies up to 12 weeks. The female is given an anesthetic. A tube with a razor sharp edge is inserted into her womb. The child is suctioned out with a vacuum 29 times stronger than a household vacuum. The child is torn to pieces in the process.
D & C: A hook shaped knife is used to cut the baby into pieces then the child is scraped out.
D & E: Forceps with sharp teeth are used to twist and break the bones of the child. Usually the spine must be snapped and the skull crushed. The pieces are repeatedly removed.
Prostaglandin Chemical Abortion: This chemical causes intense contractions which often kills or decapitates the baby. Some babies are still alive.
Hysterectomy or Caesarean Section: A surgical procedure used in the last months of pregnancy. The umbilical cord is cut while the baby is still in the womb which suffocates the infant. If the infant does not suffocate then he or she is put in a corner and dies of neglect.
Partial Birth Abortion: The abortionist uses forceps to grab the infant’s legs. The baby is born with the exception of the head. The abortionist inserts scissors into the skull and opens them to enlarge the wound. The infant’s brains are then sucked out. This causes the skull to collapse. The dead infant is then removed.
The above murderous techniques are incomprehensible to anyone who values the sanctity of life. Let us not criticize the hated Nazis too quickly before we acknowledge this culture of death that hangs over our own country. I do not wish to diminish the horrors of the holocaust in any way but 44 million is a bit more than the number of Nazi concentration camp victims. We have our own government sanctioned holocaust. We have the mass slaughtering of innocent children. Yes, they are children, not fetuses. Like the Nazis, the terminology is changed to minimize the significance of the crime. These abortionists will not go on trial or be charged with crimes against humanity. They will continue to use their skills to exterminate rather than heal. Surely, there will be a special place in hell for them.
© Deanna Spingola 2005 - All rights reserved
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