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First, do no harm

We assume that statement is a tenet of the Hippocratic Oath. It is actually from another of his works called “Of the Epidemics.”

Medical schools today either don’t have an oath to swear to, or write their own that include versions of the Hippocratic Oath such as: I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure, and as a member of society I have special obligations to all my fellow human beings. Important promises.

At the beginning of the pandemic we avoided unnecessary medical appointments but were assured that our health care providers were being careful and were being tested. Now we have confidence that we can be even safer due to the vaccines.

However, as I’ve tried to choose an endodontist to repair a root canal I would like to know if the doctor and their assistants are vaccinated. This information is not accessible to me. Receptionists and office managers claim that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules prevent them from doing so. Nor do they offer information about how often their staff is tested.

I know that HIPAA is designed to protect patient privacy but when you are entrusting yourself to a doctor who is going to be working on you in very close proximity, I’d like to know that they are taking EVERY precaution. I would presume that it is part of professional responsibility.

Patients should have the right to evaluate their risk and make a decision that they are comfortable with.

Pamela Galloway


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