Human Exceptionalism

Anti-Semitism Has No Place in Medicine

Equality is an essential essence of human exceptionalism. A human, is a human, is a human–we are all us.

This is especially important in medicine. Indeed, the Hippocratic Oath requires physicians to practice only for the “good of my patients, keeping myself from all intentional ill-doing.”

That is why I was disturbed to read about a Belgian physician who refused to help a woman with a broken rib because she is Jewish. From the Jerusalem Post story:

The woman, Bertha Klein, had her son, who is American, call the [medical] hotline at 11 p.m. “I’m not coming,” the doctor reportedly told the son and hung up. When the son called again, the doctor said: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she’ll get rid of the pain.”

According to Joods Actueel, the doctor confirmed the exchange, saying he had an “emotional reaction.”

Health ministry officials were looking into the incident, according to the monthly’s online edition. According to Joods Actueel, the doctor knew the patient was Jewish because of Klein’s son’s American accent.

Anti-Semitism has no place in medicine. Physicians should never be invididious in their practices. Doctors can get caught up in the controversies of our day like anyone, but they must leave it at the door when they enter the clinic.

Discipline must be rendered.

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