Amnesty International wants doctors and nurses out of the lethal injection business for death row inmates. Why you may ask? Because it violates their oath. First, Do No Harm. I am of course a big fan of the Hippocratic Oath which interestingly doesn’t include the famous motto “Do No Harm”. And I am happy to pull out the ancient document and dust it off and use it today. The medical profession could benefit greatly! Honestly, most people probably have never read the oath. And I’m talking about the version Hippocrates wrote not the updated, modernized ones. Hippocrates wrote, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”
I wonder what Amnesty International would say about other ways the medical profession breaches their ethical oath? If we profess to ‘do no harm’, then certainly this applies to other matters of bioethic debate!
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.