An Open Letter To Dr. Betty Price, United States Representative for the state of Georgia, from a concerned colleague.
Dear Representative Dr. Betty Price,
. I understand from multiple news outlets, including Fox News, that you have discussed a proposal to quarantine HIV positive people. Reading this raised some questions for me about your basic medical knowledge, and about your awareness of the underpinnings of the art of medicine. First and foremost did you recite the Oath of Hippocrates in any of it’s forms at any time? If so did you understand those words and mean those words with all your heart? If so, did you cross your fingers behind your back as you spoke those powerful words?
. I took the oath in 1998, standing next to me my father, who had taken the oath in 1960. He fulfilled his oath and taught me the art of medicine. Listen to your patients, they will tell you what the diagnosis is. You may not be able to cure every patient, but to each one you can give good care and show compassion.
. The words used in the Oath of Hippocrates have changed with the passage of time and the advancement of scientific knowledge. The significance of the oath remains the same. Physicians have a covenant with society, with our patients, and with each other. Handed down, from each generation of physicians to the next, is not just the science based knowledge and practice. The Oath also charges each of us to convey to our students the sanctity of our profession. The importance of caring for our patients is paramount. Without genuine concern for other people, and the will to see that concern through, we shatter our pact with society, thereby rendering ourselves not worthy of the trust of others. The trust a patient has in their physician, and the trust society extends to our profession, that trust is the foundation of our transformative capacity as physicians to help others heal.
. U. S. Representative from Georgia, Dr. Betty Price, as a physician I think your talk of quarantine of HIV positive individuals is destructive to all physicians and our patients. Your kind of thinking displays an unacceptable lack of knowledge for any health care worker, yet alone a physician, about HIV transmission. If you do in fact understand how this virus is transmitted, then your words convey an even more horrendous prospect. The possibility that you are devoid of the caring and compassion required by our profession, and at the same time you occupy a position of influence regarding laws governing the entire nation. This prospect is the worst of the two bad possibilities I have identified.
. For the sake of maintaining our society’s trust in physicians please stop identifying yourself as one of us. You are not one of us. To wear the mantle of the physician requires one to have a heart. It requires that you give a damn about everyone on the planet with you right now. No exceptions.
. You should also consider relieving yourself of any Congressional responsibility you have. Good government requires fairness from all people who hold elected or appointed office. Fairness seems to be a concept that escapes you.
. So in all fairness to the rest of the citizens of the United States, I am asking you to resign or retire or just plain quit. We will be better off without you. Thank you and enjoy your new everyday is a weekend day life.
Dr. Susan Swope