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Archive for February 14th, 2012

Greg Elder: Hippocrates: a casualty of the war in Syria

14 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

A doctor’s protest

Principles

Four months ago en route to work I read an article about how the blood transfusion services in Syria had been taken over by the Ministry of Defence as a means to target patients injured in demonstrations against the government. I found this deeply disturbing and described it as a “violation of medicine” in an e-mail to some senior colleagues later that day. As the world watches the conflict unfold in Syria, principles and ethics may seem a little academic and self-righteous, but ethical principles underlie our very claims to civilisation and humanity. For the medical profession, the Hippocratic Oath forms a binding contract between practitioners and society, outlining the responsibilities we have toward our patients and the communities in which we work. Even in times of conflict, in fact especially in times of conflict, there are international rules and ethical principles that protect health facilities, medical staff, and patients’ access to care. more…

Peter Lapsley: Dignifying death

14 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

Peter LapsleyWere I to develop motor neurone disease, or some comparably progressive, incurable, and terminal condition, I would wish to be informed of the diagnosis, perhaps to have the opportunity of a second opinion, to be given a carefully considered and evidence-based prognosis with timelines, however approximate, and then, having put my affairs in order and at a time of my choosing, to be allowed to depart this life at home and as quickly, quietly, and painlessly as possible. more…

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