Those hypocrites of Hippocrates

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Those hypocrites of Hippocrates

Debbie Ellis-Leslie

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history. The oath, written by Hippocrates, also known as the Father of Medicine, and who was a Greek physician in the Age of Pericles, is still held sacred by physicians today. Under the oath, physicians are sworn to treat the ill to the best of their ability, to preserve patients' privacy, and to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, among other things.

A physician may be referred to as a doctor, but not all doctors are physicians.

It is deliberate how I have started this piece, as I join the voices of the thousands of Jamaicans and others who have suffered, and continue to suffer the loss of their loved ones under the uncaring hands of these children of Hippocrates, more appropriately, the hypocrites, who wear the super villain capes of health-care providers. The notches on their stethoscopes and slinging syringes continue to increase as more and more patients lose their lives to seemingly untouchable physicians.

Undoubtedly, and with no reservation, I know that within the health-care system, there are a few caped crusaders who have gone, and continue to go beyond their own capacities to ensure that the people who come to them receive optimum care and treatment. But…

The pomegranate has medicinal properties found to be excellent in fighting numerous illnesses, such as cancer, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, to name a few, but often there are bad or flawed or imperfect seeds found within them that need to be discarded. Similarly, the health system has excellent professionals; however, there are those “seeds” who are hell-bent on making the entire organisation suffer a damning reputation. These, too, need to be discarded.

On October 13, 2020, my brother, himself considered a health-care provider, a pharmacist, went to a major hospital in St Catherine for emergency care. While on routine dialysis treatment he started bleeding. Due to the COVID-19 restriction protocol, only one person was allowed to be with a patient at any given time; however, I beseeched the security officer, asking him to please allow me the opportunity to go in and even offer a word of prayer for my brother, to which he acquiesced.

I saw my gentle giant of a brother lying there, unattended by any physician. He was bloodied, as no attendant thought him 'important' to be cleaned. He was still bleeding, yet there was no IV strung up to even pretend that any care was being administered. I was heartbroken.

I asked one of the five physicians at the doctors' station if when a person becomes ill and is hospitalised they become less than human beings.

My brother died on October 13, 2020. His post-mortem revealed acute myocardial infarction, otherwise know as a massive heart attack. With no blood to replenish what he had lost, the heart was starved for oxygen-rich blood from the coronary arteries and stopped beating completely.

Truth is, even if they had strung up the entire hospital of IVs and blood in him, and it was just his time of transition; the IVs and blood would have been of no help, but what it would have shown was that the health-care providers did, in fact, provide the care needed.

Lives under these health-care providers are lost daily, yet they are not condemned, tried, or treated like the gunslingers who blatantly extinguish lives so frequently. At least the lives taken by these gunmen are not those who turn up to the hospitals seeking their professional care; individuals who come expecting that their Hippocratic Oath to “treat the ill to the best of one's ability” will be upheld.

In our recent celebrations of national heroes it was highlighted that they fought and mounted revolutions so that Jamaicans could have certain rights; the right to vote was one of them. What about a basic right to a proper health-care system? Do we need a revolution?

I lend my voice, as Psalm 19:3 King James Version says: “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

There, I've said it!

debbie.e.ellis@gmail.com


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