Friday, February 23, 2007

"Purposes of Medicine"

This 1965 Lancet article by Sir Theodore Fox has lots of great quotes, and so this entry will be a continuation of the last one.

"What a patient needs first is care and relief. In the second place he wants restoration to health [...] Since preserving his life is a sine qua non of restoring him to health, it is an end that those who have the care of him pursue, and ought to pursue, as a general rule. But it is not in itself an ultimate."
"If [a doctor] goes on prolonging a life that can never again have purpose or meaning, his kindness becomes a cruelty [...] We shall have to learn to refrain from doing things merely because we know how to do them. In particular we must have courage to refrain from buying patients' lives at a price they and their friends do not want to pay."
"The physician is not the servant of science, or of the race, or even of life. He is the individual servant of his individual patients, basing his decisions always on their individual interest."
"Our purpose is to enlarge human freedom - to set people free, so far as we can, from the disability and suffering that so easily mar their lives and hamper their fulfillment."
"With all its faults the profession to which [the doctor] belongs is not a body of technologists interested solely in the means by which physical or mental processes can be restored to normal: it is a body of doctors seeking to use these means to an end - to help patients cope with their lives."
"For a person or a profession, to restore and help one's neighbor may be no small task. But the purpose is not a small one; nor is the privilege."

No comments: