“In each house I go, I go only for the good of my patients.” The true essence of the Hippocratic Oath summed up by one sentence, is under moral pressure by the doctors who practice by this oath everyday. Physicians are taught to always give the best care to their patients no matter what the cost. However, this is not case in most circumstances. Doctors now have to answer to lawyers, insurance companies, and ultimately how much can the patient afford. This severely cuts into how effective the treatments the patient receives are. Unfortunately, the cost of treatments is now the driving factor of the oath. With this said, the doctors objective is first to do no harm, but now, it’s do no harm at the bare minimum if that’s what the patient wishes. The impending force of this is resulting in alternative ways to treating patients, which ultimately may lead to a misdiagnosis, a prolong of sickness, and even death.
Patient care versus patient insurance company, bank account, and wishes is what stands between doctors giving the best care as possible and what they’re allowed to do. Three against one makes for a hefty abundance of force to drive the doctor perform subpar procedures. In some circumstances, care may be denied, or the patients allocated cheaper care through their health insurance plans thus resulting in mediocre treatments. (Staff) Doctors are only allowed so much, while they attempt to uphold the oath, if their patient can only pay so much they have to oblige by that that, rather than giving them the best treatment no matter the cost. They will attempt to do the best they can with treating or saving the person, if only so much is allocated they can only do so much within that range.
With the force behind them, doctors are extending their help to more than just patient visit care. They’re trying to find other means to helping people out, for one, cybermedicine. Cybermedicine is a way people can communicate with their physician without actually having to go into a doctor’s office. With the Internet being apart of everyday life, it only makes sense that doctor patient care has progressed to emails and web-cam chats. In fact, it’s becoming a preferred method. (Bailey) The U.S. Navy has even adapted to this new form of medicine, by providing deployed soldiers with a form of behavioral cybermedicine via video chat. While this new phenomenon is great, the physician can only take advantage of what as obtained through what they can see, and what they’re told. This limits them to what they would normally obtain when seeing an actual person face to face. Some of the services offered now, the patient doesn’t see or talk to the doctor, they only have to finish a questionnaire and they get a prescription. This strips the doctor of their ability to use some or all of their senses. They are also limited on how much the patient tells them, which studies have shown that patients are less inclined to tell the doctor the truth. (Bailey) With limited information, not being face to face, and a wrong answer on a questionnaire, misdiagnoses are bound to happen.
Physicians are first taught to always give the best care to their patients no matter the cost, however in today’s age it’s with moderation. Doctors have to answer to their patient’s wishes, and their medical insurance limitations. How much can the patient afford, is the ultimate question being asked here. Doctors are mending the Hippocratic Oath to appease the people they’re treating. So much as going as far as online cybermedicine consultations, the worlds changing and patient care is too.
Bailey, R. (2010). Cybermedicine: What you need to know. (35 Annual Editions),
NPR Staff. ((n.d.)). Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2011/03/16/134568775/medicines-rising-costs-put-hippocratic-oath-at-risk