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Gloria Pan's picture

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Ninety-eight percent of American medical students swear an oath on completion of their studies, most likely a variation of the Hippocratic Oath, which dates back to the fifth century BC.  The Hippocratic Oath commits physicians and other healthcare professionals to practice medicine ethically and honestly, and is surely one of the reasons society has traditionally held doctors in the highest esteem. Society trusted that doctors put patients first, that they at the very least upheld the basic Hippocratic tenet of  “Do no harm.”

These day, Americans have become too knowing to put doctors on pedestals, because doctors are of course human, and their mistakes can be deadly. Thankfully, I’ve never personally experienced medical malpractice, but I like to think that I would be able to forgive an honest mistake. What I wouldn’t be able to forgive – what I can’t forgive – are doctors who willfully harm. That’s why I seethe every time I go about my work as MomsRising’s consulting campaign director for clean air and see in action such lawmakers as Senator John Barrasso (WY), Congressmen Andy Harris (MD) and Congressman Dan Benishek (MI), who serve on committees with regulatory oversight.

Barrasso, Harris and Benishek are all practicing physicians who actively participate in Congressional efforts to dismantle clean air rules and weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, going against their peers at the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups that have all strongly called for air pollution reduction. And let’s not even get started on the GOP Doctors Caucus, formed in 2009 and comprising 21 members, that is working to roll back the Affordable Care Act. To think that doctors – DOCTORS! – would put politics over human misery is disappointing, to say the least. We must trust, however, that the vast majority of American doctors remain true to their calling. Some doctors are even bringing the Hippocratic Oath to advocacy on behalf of patients, which is wonderful to see.
Patients Over Politics Bus Tour
Doctors for America is a national movement of physicians and medical students working to improve the health of the nation and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high quality health care. A few days ago, they launched the Patients Over Politics Bus Tour. From August 26, 2012 to September 6, 2012, health care providers and patients will hold rallies, town halls, and meetings to spread the following message: "Stop playing politics with health reform and stand up for the Affordable Care Act!" The bus will also make major stops at the the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Go, doctors! See if they're heading your way here.

And sign their declaration to politicians that health reform should be about patients and not politics here.


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