Left to their own devices, some humans can be really horrible - hence the value of moral and ethical codes that govern our behaviour and protect us from society’s predators.
A 1997 article in the American Journal of Public Health, Eugenics and public health in American history, discusses the fetid relationship between eugenics (defined as “the science of improving heredity”) and public health. Whilst the two paradigms have differences, their underlying principles have been malignly intertwined to the detriment of basic human rights, allowing atrocities.
One of their shared ideologies is the right to collective safety, which opposes individual liberty (of course this being very broadly the struggle between ‘right and left wing’ politics). When mandatory smallpox vaccination was imposed in 1905, it began the slippery-slope to a legal precedent for involuntary sterilisation in 1927; both with the intent of permanently eradicating disease. Today we see comparable ‘anti-human’ practices, for example Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) laws being ‘offered’ to those with substance abuse and mental illness, or even merely to those requesting assistance for a disability. In these contemporary examples though, clearly the intent is to eradicate an individual’s life altogether.
Similarly, concerns have been raised about treatment differences based on specific status of patients in recent years. Whilst it is established that the main risk of viral respiratory disease is secondary bacterial pneumonia, Covid-19 guidelines have uniformly and wrongly claimed that antibiotics are ineffective for treating Covid. Across the world, covid unvaccinated patients are being denied life-saving medical treatment (including Australia and Canada, and we know of a number of cases in New Zealand). There are many cases of unjabbed patients receiving suboptimal and even lethal treatment in hospital, two of many examples being Samantha Willis in Northern Ireland and Grace Schara in Wisconsin, USA.
It is clear then, that as mere human beings, medical professionals can be at best inherently biased, and at worst terribly corrupted. These human traits combined with the power and resources to perform potentially harmful, or withhold beneficial, interventions on vulnerable people, make it vital that frameworks are in place to protect the patient from practitioners contravening the boundaries of safe practice.
The paramount medical ethic is that of ‘primum non-nocere’, or ‘first do no harm’. Although attributed to Hippocrates who lived from 460-375BC, the phrase was likely introduced into medicine in the 19th century, and is intended to serve as a reminder to medical doctors of the potency of their power. This fuses with the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship which values privacy, confidentiality, honesty and respect as mechanisms to protect the needs of each individual, who has the right to participate in, and decline, their own care and treatment.
Informed consent is also intrinsic to medical ethics as patients must know the risks and benefits of what treatment is being recommended (or withheld) and why. As outlined by the Medical Council of New Zealand, informed consent is an interactive process between the clinician and the patient, often-times including their family, who are entitled to make the decision which best suits their personal circumstances and preferences, including the decision to refuse treatment and withdraw consent.
Why then, were doctors and all other health professionals instructed in April 2021, to discuss only the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination with their patients? Why then, did most doctors and other health professionals comply with vaccine mandates which removed the right of individuals to give informed consent without duress? And why, as at 13 September 2023, did the Medical Council revoke their “guidance statement”? The answer to this last one is that NZDSOS has served the medical council for the statement’s unlawfulness and for the damage done to conscientious medicine.
Another tenet of medical ethics is the precautionary principle, whereby measures must be taken to prevent harm, especially with ‘novel’ treatments. This is particularly important in the care of children, and women of reproductive age and in pregnancy, as the survival of our species depends on protecting our fertility and future generations.
When the precautionary principle has been overlooked, significant harms have occurred. The marketing of thalidomide, administered to prevent morning sickness in the 1950s, led to thousands of miscarriages and more than 10,000 severe birth deformities. Diethylstilbestrol was administered for thirty years from 1940 to prevent miscarriage, premature labour and related complications. Only in 1971 did researchers link it to vaginal cancer in the daughters of women who took the drug whilst pregnant.
Given that risks can take a generation to manifest, the precautionary principle should always be prioritised in pregnancy when new and experimental pharmaceuticals are introduced to the market. We tell pregnant women to avoid consuming alcohol, unpasteurised dairy products and touching cat litter due to the potential risks involved, yet they were told that the new and experimental Covid-19 inoculations were “safe and effective”.
Medical ethics were abandoned in 2020 and the cost to society has been dreadful. When the ‘pandemic’ arrived on the shores of New Zealand in March of 2020, a new legal precedent was set under urgency in parliament, limiting the freedoms of New Zealanders, dismissing the fundamental legislation of freedom in the Bill of Rights Act and abandoning long held medical ethics in order to ‘stop the spread’. The cost to society has been extraordinary and will be felt throughout the generations to come.
NZDSOS recommends every New Zealander be familiar with the Health and Disability Code of Consumer Rights and expect the same of your providers.
Why then, were doctors and all other health professionals instructed in April 2021, to discuss only the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination with their patients? Why then, did most doctors and other health professionals comply with vaccine mandates which removed the right of individuals to give informed consent without duress?