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Multiple Medicines, One Medical Duty

By the Commission d'Ethique de l'Ordre Départemental des Médecins de Côte d'Or

It is proven that different medicines receive more and more positive resonances and that the ordinal institution is in an uncomfortable position, since it has to decide between the free choice of patients and the mission to determine the limits of esotericism.  

The association has the priority duty to protect the patients against dangerous practices by doctors or non-doctors.
That is to say to pay attention to the conscience of the therapist without spoiling the patient’s confidence.
To practice the medicine, the therapist relies on his knowledge and on his convictions, which is normal. However, his convictions are respectable only if they are beneficial for the patient. It is in everyone’s interest to expose the offenders.
How is it in practice? At the beginning, we all receive an identical training which is also a conformation. The conventional medicine has become a science based on proofs from comparative analyses.
It is its way of evolution and improvement. This way of thinking reassures our occidental culture.
The other medicines do not have these nearly mathematic references but find themselves supported by affective or historical references and by the human experience.

We all know patients that brought success to our colleagues practicing an outside medicine.
Rejecting what is outside or strange is discrimination. This is not acceptable.
An ethic attitude either consists of acknowledging enough of the other medicines's precepts or of adopting a tolerance towards the principles we don’t know.
In both cases, it would not be good to destabilize the patient who has his own beliefs and has to benefit from the therapy.
This duty of tolerance is valid for everyone. The indispensable faith in what we do shall not lead to bigotry.
We need to remind you that our deontology obliges us to refer to our colleagues if our means seem not well adapted or not good enough.
Stubbornness, relentlessness do not serve the interest of the patient; we do not own our patients.
How should we in these conditions unmask “illusionists”, thaumaturgy, charlatans that merit our disapproval?
Maybe that is possible by better knowing ourselves, recognizing the patient rather than the practice.
Even though they are rather technical, our references must remain human ergo moral. No one has the monopole of honesty.
The debate has to be reasonable and focused on the interest of the patient in order to not be passionate.
The patient’s participation in the therapy, whatever it may be, must not disqualify him.
During one of the lawsuits of Mességué a lawyer declared: “We accuse the healers of not being doctors, I accuse the doctors of not being healers!”.
This is a reflection we have to think about.

In conclusion, let us avoid the term of alternative medicine.

This attribute suggests an exclusive therapy that does neither respect ethics nor common sense. The advantage of tolerating outside medicine is to see it as complementary. This tolerance does allow to keep contact between therapists which is useful and beneficial to everyone instead of rupturing practitioners and imposing a dissimulation of alternative therapies on the patients.

La Commission d'Ethique

Bulletin de l'Ordre Départemental des Médecins de Côte d'Or / Janvier 2007