The Holocaust has
touched every part of human life even to this day. One man’s ideology of
creating a perfect race created the deliberate mass murder of millions of
innocent civilians. Adolf Hitler, with his ideas of a pure breed or “master
race” of people, prompted the death of a whole generation of people (American
Medical Association). His method to create this pure race was to wipe off
Jewish people from the face of the earth. Along with anyone who was unusual,
people with disabilities, dark-skinned and or anyone who did not believe the
way he did. These strange ideologies gave humans the power to play God,
originating from the government leaders down to the very professionals who
swore an oath to do no harm.
The worst crimes
against humanity were performed within the four walls of concentration camps.
Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death” was one of these
professionals. Physicians like him
carried out unethical medical experiments on thousands of prisoners held in the
concentration camps without their consent. Unspeakable acts were done in the
name of science. The physicians who swore an oath to preserve and heal humanity
succeeded in committing deliberate harm. Prejudice and intolerance ran through
the veins of these people, whose only job was to provide equal and just care to
anyone in need.
The Nuremberg Trials brought these so-called
professionals to justice. They were charged on the basis of the Hippocratic
Oath that “the physician will use treatment to help the sick according to
his ability and judgment, but never with the view to injury and
wrongdoing” (Shuster, 1998). The Nazi regime gave power to these
physicians to do whatever was right in the name of science. Without any regard
to the ethical standards that they swore to protect. Prejudice against the
Jewish people spurred the heinous research studies by the taking of innocent
lives. Solely to promote the posterity of the master race, which Hitler desired
those without blemish or illnesses. The
Nuremberg code was established after the convictions of the Nazi physicians.
This code created a new ethical milestone stating, “physicians will not
use their medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even
under threat” (Imran, 2013).
Oath was modified as stated above by the World Medical Association to educate
healthcare professionals in medical ethics.
As medical professionals, we are held to a higher standard of personal
and professional values. We are
obligated to understand the ethical and legal aspects of medicine, which is
very important for comprehensive health-care as a whole (Imran, 2013). Patients
entrust their lives into our hands, we should be competent enough to care for
them. History cannot be repeated again in the name of science. We took an oath,
after all, to do no harm despite race, color or creed.