Medicine According to Hippocrates

Ernest Truffer, MD
Article Type: 
September/October 1998
Volume Number: 
Issue Number: 

Dear Editor,

For 30 years, I have fought for the maintenance and restoration of medicine based on the Oath and ethics of Hippocrates.

The justification for the independent practice of medicine is so the physician remains beholden to his patients rather than the government or third-party payer.

Unhappily, medical societies have sold out the principles of Hippocrates for medical fees. To which I reply, “It’s pure innocence to think that once the principles are sold out, that they will let you keep your fees.” And thus, we have the disagreeable situation that a patient is not treated according to his own needs, but according to the economic and political needs and requirements of the third-party masters who pay his fees — the veterinary ethic.

With the doctor becoming a servant of the managed care network that employs him, his foremost concern is that of safeguarding the financial interest of the network, and he becomes a tool of the state health policy, a policy that he must enforce and promote.

With a disruption of the ethics of Hippocrates, the physician’s duty becomes that of serving the state like in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. I don’t know if we can reverse this trend, but perhaps to hope is not yet forbidden.

I am happy that you [AAPS] are still fighting for the restoration of medicine. You know — this fight is a lifelong struggle.

Best regards,
Ernest Truffer, MD
Sierre, Switzerland

[Dr. Truffer, a Swiss otolaryngologist and medical philosopher, originated the term “veterinary ethic” to decry the interference of the government and third-party payers in the patient-doctor relationship. —Editor.]

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1998;3(5):157. Copyright © 1998 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).



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