When Our Doctors Are Immoral

Doctors all over the world pledge allegiance to the Hippocratic Oath. It is one of the oldest binding laws in history, derived from Hippocrates, father of medicine, in 5th century Greece. The wording may vary from one medical school to another but is basically the same. “I will treat the sick and try to heal them to the best of my ability”.

The oath makes no mention of treating or healing only if there is a salary increase for the physician.

Our doctors in Israeli hospitals act immorally when going on strike and refusing to treat patients or to perform needed surgery. They have seemingly forgotten the Hippocratic oath and have embraced the Hypocritic oath. “No pay increase, no treatments. We are on strike”.

Part of the fault lies in our medical system of socialized medicine and government hospitals. There are few private physicians and only very few private hospitals in Israel. To be truly successful in wealth, doctors must leave Israel to practice in foreign countries where salaries are extremely higher.

For one example, my son is a physician in a private clinic staffed by some 350 physicians from all fields of medicine in a New York medical facility. He works long hours, seeing many patients daily and spending many more hours recording case histories on required medical insurance forms like Medicare. His annual salary is more than an Israeli doctor in a government hospital can earn in three years.

It is little wonder that there are so many Israeli doctors trained at Sackler can be found in hospitals far from the borders of Israel.

Another example. My wife underwent a CT to determine her medical problem in a New York medical facility. Thirty minutes after the CT we were given the results: pancreatic cancer which had metastasized to the liver. Within one hour she met with the director of the oncology department and a schedule for chemotherapy treatments was given to her on the spot. When blood tests are taken once every week, she is given the results from the laboratory on the premises within twenty minutes.

In Israel, a patient must wait up to two weeks to receive the results of a CT analysis and must then wait for an appointment with a physician which may take weeks. All this delay causes needless anxiety to an ill patient.

I do not recall a strike of doctors, nurses or medical personnel in any other country in the world. Only our immoral doctors are concerned more with their salaries than with the well-being of their patients.

The only departments which are not on strike are the emergency rooms and the maternity wards.

Strikes by hospital doctors and medical personnel are immoral and should be considered criminal neglect. Doctors who deny treatment to their patients should be heavily fined for their irresponsible acts.

I know of Israelis who have gone to Hungary, Rumania and the United States for medical treatment in hospitals in those and other countries.

Shame on our striking physicians. How many ill people must needlessly die because no doctor in a government hospital will treat them and they cannot afford to pay the steep prices of private hospitals?

Such strikes are banned by law in the Western world and those who violate that law are severely punished. Why must we, in Israel, stand out as the odd ones?

Israeli doctors have received excellent training and are an example to their chosen profession. Many Israeli doctors have been recognized and honored by foreign medical associations. Those who received training in South Africa’s medical schools are in particular highly regarded.

Poor old Hippocrates would be turning over and over in his Greek grave if he could witness our doctors on strike. “I will not deny healing to the sick”.

Too many of our Israeli doctors seem to have forgotten the oath.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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