Honor Medicine – Science and Health

Evaristo, middle-aged, was the typical porteño, nice and canchero. On his first visit to the office, he acted with great discretion and prudence. He meekly submitted to my examination and listened carefully to my explanations of the necessity of the surgical procedure to which he should undergo. He received the indications of the preoperative studies. During the entire consultation I had the feeling that I had already consulted before mine and that I knew perfectly his inexorable destiny. We schedule a new interview for next week.

In the second interview, having approved all the studies that I had indicated, he expressed his desire to pay me my surgical fees in advance.

Faced with the definite expression of his desire, I explained to him that for ethical reasons he never charged fees in advance, that he really understood that I was just trusting him with a fee. Instead, he put his health and life in my hands. He seemed to have understood my reasons and we said goodbye until the day of his intervention.

On the day of admission, I receive a call from the floor nurse saying that the patient wanted to speak to me before surgery. I entered the room and found Evaristo sitting on the bed, calm and smiling. After the usual greeting and my reassuring and comforting words before the surgical act to which I was going to undergo, the patient again expressed his desire to pay my fees in advance. Given my perplexity at the insistence, I asked him the reason for it, to which he very loosely replied:

– Look doctor, for two reasons: first, for cabal and second, because you are going to operate happier!


“If you are indifferent to fortune, pleasures and ingratitude.

If knowing that you will see yourself many times only among human beasts.

If your soul is stoic enough to satisfy you with the duty done.

If you judge yourself paid enough with the happiness of a mother who has just given birth, with a face that smiles because the pain has been alleviated, with the peace of a dying person whom you accompany to the end.

If you long to meet man and penetrate the tragic greatness of his destiny.

Then become a doctor, my son! ”

They are the advice of Aesculapius, mythological god of Medicine. Implicitly, doctors swear to fulfill all these principles when, upon graduation, we take the Hippocratic Oath for God, the Fatherland and for all that we consider sacred in our heart.

I would give Mr. Evaristo what was written above to make him understand that I do not operate happier because I have received the fees in advance.

For many years we doctors enjoyed enormous prestige. I have experienced it in the beginning of my professional practice.

Our prestige ended abruptly but it also changed the society in which we live. Today’s society has upset noble and virtuous principles. Today’s society justifies existence through having, power and pleasure. Our medical youth is an integral part of this new society.
Let us not forget that the transcendent object of medicine is the human being, healthy or sick, in function of society. Treating an illness can be totally impersonal. Caring for a patient, on the other hand, is a totally personal act. It is the doctor who, obeying or renouncing his humanity, gives science or not its human and ethical content.

Today’s society has begun to scrutinize the actions of our profession and has begun to ask for accountability. We are accused of being merchants. I consider that the perception of the fee should be only one part, and not the most important, of the medical act. The perception of pay should not intervene either for or against our dedication and our effectiveness.

No one should forget that science is for the human being and not the human being for science.
The sick need to be cared for, they want to be heard, they want us to address their concerns and fears, with love and honesty. They don’t need our benevolent paternalism. They long for a mature relationship and communication.

Failure to adhere faithfully to these practices dishonors our profession and damages the image of medicine.
We should restore professionalism and ethical conduct to our ranks. Our diploma must be a guardian of respect, it should be a guarantee of seriousness and rectitude of procedures. We are a very important sector of the social parenchyma and for this reason the doctor is and will always be a leader within the community.


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