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Doctors must protect Chen

Taipei Times

The Hippocratic Oath is a pledge, called the “Doctor’s Oath” in Chinese, that is taken by doctors and other healthcare professionals, asking them to promise, to the best of their abilities, to practice medicine ethically and honestly. It is not a formal contract, and it is up to each doctor or nurse to live up to the oath as best they can.

It is apparent from photographs in newspapers and on television news that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), currently serving a long jail sentence, is not in the best of health. Visitors from who have seen Chen have reported back to the media that he looks frail and depressed.

Whatever the legal and correctional system issues that are facing Chen — and he must face these squarely — surely there is room in a warm and humane country like Taiwan for some kind of medical pardon: based not only on humanitarian and medical reasons, but also on the Hippocratic Oath.

The oath’s content: “To keep the sick from harm and injustice,” surely applies to the situation Taiwan is facing in regard to Chen’s health. The doctors looking at the issue of medical parole for Chen should leave politics aside and only focus on the medical aspects of his case.

The Hippocratic Oath is understood by all doctors and now might be the time to jettison politics, put the political issues to one side and focus solely on the medical aspects of Chen’s condition.

If Taiwan’s doctors do this, be the members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) or the Democratic Progressive Party or just independent voters that support neither party, they can better focus on what needs to be done, and done soon.

Dan Bloom

Chiayi

2013-01-21

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「醫師誓言」與陳水扁

希波克拉提斯宣言(Hippocratic Oath)是一項承諾,在中文裡稱為「醫師誓言」,這是由醫師及其他專業健康照護者所遵守,要求他們承諾、盡最大的能力,並熱忱且誠實地去執行醫療照護。這並非形式上的契約,是由每一位醫師或護士不辜負誓詞,而竭盡他們所能。

從報紙與電視新聞的照片中顯示,目前處於長期監禁的前總統陳水扁健康不佳。由曾到獄中探視陳的探訪者給媒體的轉述是,他看起來虛弱且鬱卒。

不論司法與監察系統上的各項議題如何看待陳,以及陳必須誠實面對這些事,像台灣這樣熱情與人道的國家,在醫療上應有某個程度的寬容:不僅在於人道關懷與醫學理由,並且是基於希波克拉提斯宣言。這個誓約中明示:

「To keep the sick from harm and injustice」(使病人免於傷害與不公平),必然適用於台灣目前所面對有關陳的健康。此刻醫師們看待陳保外就醫,應置政治於一旁,並單獨專注於陳的醫療面向。

希波克拉提斯宣言深為全體醫師所理解,正如船難中拋棄政治雜物,擱置政治議題,大家可以聚焦於陳的病況處理治療,此刻正是時候。

如果台灣的醫生,無論他們支持的是中國國民黨或民進黨還是獨立選民能做到這一點,他們可以更專注於醫生需要做什麼,並很快完成。

(作者 Dan Bloom 為美籍媒體人;翻譯者 Roger Huang)

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