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Changing the meaning of Greek, Latin and doctors realistic 21st century application

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    Changing the meaning of Greek, Latin and doctors realistic 21st century application

    My ignorance had me believe that "Do no harm" was part of the Hippocratic oath". This still does not change the fact that by doing nothing they can be doing harm. I.e. not prescribing narcotics when needed or if you read the entire article, antibiotics.

    Risk analysis in the 21st century medicine is actually very interesting, gave me a little more insight on doctors thought process and risk reward trade-offs as well as an overloaded government paperwork increasing or regulation.

    However, like quadriplegia and paraplegia, we have abused the Greek and Latin languages taking them out of context the phrase so much as to make them meaningless.

    Editor's note: from a letter to the editor of American Family Medicine about The Lie of Primum non Nocere, "Do No Harm"

    The original Greek text translates loosely as: ?backspace "As to diseases, make a habit of two things: to help, or at least do no harm." In a scholarly exegesis of the text, Jonsen notes that the Latin term ?primum? (implying ?first? or ?above all?) is not supported by the Greek text at all, and that its origin is obscure.

    Furthermore, the emphasis on helping seems to have been superseded by a more modern notion of avoiding harm. This notion seems influenced by an idealistic, even unrealistic, sense of attaining desirable outcomes while avoiding any risk of harm. Shelton has recently lamented the harm of "doing no harm" and acknowledges how this concept can ethically tie a physician's hands.2

    It would be better to embrace the meaning of the original text, which seems to say: "Try to help your patients when you can, and when you can't, at least try not to make things worse. "