A physician with or without moral integrity?
No-one wants a doctor without moral integrity. But we do not agree about the nature of morality except perhaps that we ought not to do to others what we do not wish to be done to us. No-one therefore has the right to destroy the moral integrity of another person, including the moral integrity of the physician. In a rights based society with patient-centered practices of medicine, it is the duty of a democracy to protect every view of morality, both of patients and of medical practitioners who have moral or religious objections to particular treatments and services.
The Need for an International Hippocratic Registry
For 2000 years the medical world had a moral consensus through the Hippocratic tradition, but, sadly, today there is no possibility of agreement about abortion, infanticide, euthanasia. For some, these things are services, for others they constitute murder. We are on the brink of needing two separate systems of medical care. We have no longer a moral consensus as the basis for professional conduct.
There is an urgent need for physicians wanting to practice Hippocratic medicine to establish a national and international identity in order to preserve their moral conscience and integrity as physicians. Hippocratic physicians cannot become agents of death even if this conflicts with patient autonomy. Internationally, elective abortion is being seen as standard care and a fundamental right in reproductive health programs. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide have also been made legal under some jurisdictions. We need to defend medical students and medical practitioners who are under increasing pressure to participate in such procedures.
Practitioners from many faiths are practicing Hippocratic Medicine. A strong Hippocratic Registry that is international will be able to identify these physicians and students for two reasons: to explain and emphasize the characteristics of Hippocratic Medicine and to form a network of like-minded physicians throughout the world.