Pediatrician asks 13-year-old girl whether her parents smoke or own a gun, how much alcohol they drink, whether they use drugs, and how her parents “get along.” Neither parent was present during the questioning, as would be required if the girl were accused of a crime.
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Five-year-old asked whether her parents own guns, and if so, how many and where they are stored. When child replied “Yes,” the pediatrician filed a police report about the gun, though it was legally owned.
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American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines tell doctors to ask children about alcohol, tobacco, sexual activity, drugs, helmet and seatbelt use, access to guns, and other issues — regarding themselves and other family members. Doctors who fail to follow guidelines may be subject to sanctions for not meeting the “standard of practice.” There is no requirement to notify parents that these questions are being asked, much less to secure their permission.
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Does your doctor work for you? No, I don’t mean who actually pays him, though that is important. But whether your doctor is in solo practice, or group practice, or is employed by a hospital or HMO, or is employed by the local or federal government, the key question remains — is he or she your doctor?
Is your physician like a physician used to be — an independent professional, making decisions on your treatment according to his best judgment of what is most likely to improve your health? Or is he so pressured by external forces — what insurance will pay for, or what will improve the bottom line of the HMO, or what Medicare or Medicaid or ObamaCare will allow — that your well-being is a secondary factor?
And to this vital question we must now add another: Is your physician still bound by the Hippocratic Oath, pledged to keep confidential whatever you say in the privacy of the examining room? Did he even take the Hippocratic Oath when he graduated from medical school, as I did years ago? Or is he among the large majority of recent medical graduates who took another oath, one made up to suit “modern social norms”?
In fact, only one of the 141 American medical schools still administers the Hippocratic Oath. All the other schools use a variety of oaths, of which only one rejects abortion, only four forbid having sex with patients, and only 25 reject euthanasia — all of which are forbidden by the Hippocratic Oath. I cannot find words to express my sadness at the decline of my profession — my calling.
At one medical school, the Hippocratic Oath was replaced when students laughed during the ceremony. They found the “archaic” language amusing. Apparently they had never studied Shakespeare, whose language is much older, not to mention the King James Bible. Ignorant high-school graduates are depressing. Ignorant medical-school graduates are frightening.
The classic translation of the Oath that I took was made by Dr. Francis Adams, who died in 1861. The “archaic” language that the students laughed at was more modern than our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Will they too become a source of laughter? Oh wait, they already have. Recall that then-Speaker Pelosi was asked where the Constitution empowers the federal government to control everyone’s health care, and she replied, “Are you serious?” — while giggling.
If you ever doubt that we are in deep trouble, recall the medical students’ laughter and Pelosi’s giggle.
Some of the oaths are made up by the students themselves. In effect, they are swearing to follow their own ideas — how hard is that? But when I graduated, we swore to uphold the 2400-year-old principles of a great profession — which I found difficult to follow, though I tried. Indeed things have changed.
I believe the chief cause of the Hippocratic Oath’s demise is its ban on abortion. But in the Oath, euthanasia and abortion are next to each other. Discarding one prohibition weakened the other. If all human life isn’t sacred, none is. Intermediate positions are weak and are being overrun one by one. Who is worthy to live becomes just a matter of opinion — and the only opinion that matters is the government’s.
Once we throw away the rulebook, the referee becomes a dictator.
If you doubt this, note that the Japanese finance minister recently declared that old people should “hurry up and die.” And an advisor to the British government stated that patients with dementia have a “duty to die.”
Exactly how does this differ from the Nazis declaring the disabled to be “life unworthy of life” and “useless eaters” who were a “drain on the Fatherland”? I see no difference — except that the Nazis were more efficient in carrying out their program. But with practice, we’ll get more efficient, too.
So the Hippocratic Oath is out the window. Yes, that Oath, the Oath that I and most medical graduates took a generation ago. It required me to follow that form of treatment which in my judgment was in the best interest of the patient. It required me to keep secret whatever I heard in the course of my practice, or even outside of it.
But as young people would say, that’s so yesterday. Today, things are different. Today, insurance companies and government bureaucrats are there in the examining room with you and your doctor. You may not see them, but they are there.
Check out President Obama’s revealing reply to a question about whether elderly patients should get a cardiac pacemaker:
If we’ve got experts that are advising doctors across the board that it will save money…
That is, “experts” will tell doctors what to do, or what not to do. This policy will hold “across the board” — for all patients with this condition, as opposed to therapy for a specific individual decided on by the physician and the patient. And the policy will be based on what will “save money.” That’s about as clear as it gets.
So you can say goodbye to receiving that treatment which, in your doctor’s judgment, is best for you. Now what about keeping confidential what you tell your doctor? President Obama, as well as various medical organizations, now advise doctors to ask about patients’ firearms. What kind? How many? Where are they stored?
Pediatricians are included – will they ask the parents, or the children, about guns in their homes? If you think this is a trivial point, look up Pavlik Morozov. Totalitarian regimes enlist children to spy on their parents. Yes, we’re still very far from that point. But the time to act is when you get the first whiff of smoke, not when the whole house is in flames.
In addition, there is pressure from federal law to make all medical records electronic. In the old days, your medical record was a paper file in your doctor’s office or the hospital record room. The disadvantage was that it might be hard to locate in an emergency, or if you saw another doctor, or traveled to another city. But the advantage was that it was confidential.
As evidence of this, note that tabloids pay informants in key hospitals to feed them information on celebrities’ health problems. But soon this will be unnecessary. If government bureaucrats can access your medical records online, surely hackers from tabloids will snoop into the health issues of celebrities. And if information on guns is included in the medical record, surely government bureaucrats will access it.
Do you have genital herpes? As a tabloid boasts, “Enquiring minds want to know.” Do you own guns? Intrusive bureaucrats want to know. And they will.
So we return to our original question: For whom does your doctor work? Is he or she becoming a double agent, ostensibly working for your best interests, but actually serving as an agent of the government?
● What kind of guns and ammunition are in the house, and where are they stored?
● Do you use car booster seats for children under 4 feet 9 inches tall?
● Does anyone in the house smoke, or any visitor, or anyone in the next apartment?
● Does anyone in the house use “too much” alcohol?
● Is anyone in the house “too fat”?
● Do you drink sodas larger than 16 ounces?
● Have you removed the salt shaker from your table?
● What does your child eat for lunch?
● Do you live with an elderly relative who is no longer mentally alert?
● Does your wife or your daughter breast-feed her baby — and for how long? (A breast-feeding website recommends weaning “anywhere from two to seven years old.” Others would say that breast-feeding a seven-year-old is sexual child abuse. We’ll have to wait for the Secretary of HHS to issue a ruling.)
All these questions, and many others, are “health-related.” And as the Supreme Court ruled, your health is the government’s business. Big Government is working to undermine the inviolability of two of the most sacred relationships: the parent-child relation, and the doctor-patient relation.
The “right to privacy”? Oh, didn’t you know? That refers only to abortion and contraception, not to actual privacy. So be present when the pediatrician talks to your child. You’ll want to know what she asks. Think twice before you fill out your medical history form at the doctor’s office, and be careful what you tell him. You never know who might be listening.
Written by David C. Stolinsky, MD
This article was originally published on January 28, 2013 at www.Stolinsky.com. Dr. Stolinsky is a retired medical oncologist and co-author of Firearms: A Handbook for Health Professionals, published by The Claremont Institute. For other articles written by Dr. Stolinsky, check out our search feature on this website.