Doctors Can Not Be Hypocrites
This show starts each episode with a snappy little quote and this quote inspired this article. Here’s the quote, see if you can guess who said it (there’s a clue in the subject line)…
“It’s more important to know what sort of person has a disease than it is to know the sort of disease a person has.”
Can you guess who said it?
Here’s another clue…Have you ever heard of the Hippocratic Oath? That’s the oath that doctors take to “do no harm.”
Or at least that’s what I thought until I read more about it on wikipedia.
Here’s a little clip…
“I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:…
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel…”
You’ve likely put the pieces together by now. Yes, that first quote was said by Hippocrates.
It turns out there’s some disagreement about whether Hippocrates actually wrote this oath, but if we look at how doctors have followed both this oath and his medical teachings, we can start to see the origins of the the word “hypocrite.” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself, it was a gimme!)
I don’t mean to bash all doctors, I get that their hearts are usually in the right place. They want to help people feel better when they’re sick. A noble intent in my books.
But (you knew there was “but” coming) when you look at the current practises of the western medical model and it’s advocates, you find that it’s rarely if ever in line with this very important teaching…
Treat the person not the disease. (that’s my paraphrasing)
Fortunately this teaching is still being followed by the growing number of alternative healing modalities, from naturopaths to homeopaths to reiki masters to ayurvedic doctors to acupuncturists and often by herbalists.
I believe this teaching is of paramount importance iff you want to actually heal (iff= “if and only if”, just think back to high school math class). If you’re satisfied with suppressing symptoms, then you can keep treating the disease every time it appears (cuz it’ll keep coming back).
I’ll close with a teaching from the Nei Ching (ancient Chinese text about healing) that echos the teaching of Hippocrates…
“A person is not sick because of a disease, they are diseased because they are sick.”
strength & wisdom.
PS. For you Urban Foragers living around Vancouver, I want to let you know about the Urban Edibles Map tucked away on my website. If you’re looking for patches of wild foods or if you’ve found some (fruit trees too), please add them to this awesome community resource. It may seem counter-intuitive to share your favourite foraging spots, but I encourage you to resist these thoughts of scarcity and competition. This entire resource has been built on the idea that our communities are stronger (and healthier) when we know the plants around us. Click here for the map.