While reviewing the American Medical Association’s 2001 Declaration of Professional Responsibility, we are struck by the following premises in that declaration:
1. The recognition of medicine’s social contract with humanity.
2. The duties imposed by that declaration transcend physician roles and specialties, professional associations, geographic boundaries and political divides.
3. Never in the history of human civilization has the well-being of each individual been so inextricably linked to that of every other. Plagues and pandemics respect no national borders in a world of global commerce and travel.
4. Humanity is our patient.
With this declaration in mind, we urge all physicians and concerned citizens to adopt the spirit of the AMA Declaration:
We, the members of the world community of physicians (and citizens), solemnly commit ourselves to advocate for social, economic, educational and political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.
We recognize this responsibility, acknowledging that there are no Blue patients, and no Red patients, there are only patients. The pandemic is the predominant health, economic and social issue confronting the United States today as it erupts across all of America, indeed around the world.
Our president and his administration have been remiss in upholding the health of our citizenry as a primary goal and show no indication that their position in that regard will improve.
To paraphrase several points made by Dr. Raymond Givens, in his letter to MedPageToday, Oct 20, there has been a well-documented failure by this administration to negotiate the COVID-19 crisis, thereby endangering untold thousands who have lost their lives to this scourge. Mr. Trump has endlessly, and without basis, attacked medical experts, defying their reasoned recommendations. Inexplicably he has espoused unproven and potentially dangerous treatments, and unrealistically stated that we are “rounding the corner,” that a treatment and vaccine are imminently available, and has failed to model the behavior needed to control this pandemic. He has never recognized racism and racial disparity in health care and their effects on minority health.
As stated in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine on Oct 8, “When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”
To quote Dr. Givens, “As we drown in a sea of discrimination, disinformation and indifference, it is time for medical leaders, journal editors, and professional societies to wade in. The entire American medical establishment has a duty to name Donald Trump, specifically, as a public health threat and strongly recommend that the upcoming election end his presidency.”
We urge all citizens who have concerns about our public health and well-being to consider a vote that renounces President Trump, a vote that calls for an administration that adheres to science and will be responsive to the public health needs of all of our countrymen and women, while addressing the disparity in health care.
Finally, to use a phrase of Martin Luther King Jr. – “the conspiracy of inaction” – we cannot afford to allow this administration to continue on its current path. “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
It is time that we indeed transcend our roles and specialties, professional associations, geographic boundaries and political divides and do what is right for the people of this great nation.
Sam Joseph, DO, and Harold Goldberg, MD, Concerned Physicians of Spokane
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.