“… May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
An obscured issue that is perniciously taking its toll on modern medicine is “wokeness,” defined as “a state of being aware, especially of social problems such as racism and inequality” by the Cambridge English Dictionary. In theory, this is in good faith, but when this vigilance is taken to an extreme, its results prove harmful, specifically in the global practice of medicine.
This essay discusses the problem of wokeness and its impact on medicine and medical professionals and proposes a viable solution for solving it: to become outspoken about this issue.
To address the elephant in the room, a significant problem that is threatening medicine is the use of “wokeness” to push one’s agenda. However, let’s first begin with the fundamental foundation that ensures the best care for its patients: the Hippocratic Oath. With no space for ambiguity, it states, “into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick,” with the implication that each patient will indiscriminately receive equal and professional treatment, regardless of their ethnic identity or ideological stance. Some would argue that this problem is a matter of ethics, whilst others would argue that this is a matter of human rights. But, indisputably, the lack of ethics and human rights can be seen when Brigham and Women’s hospital implemented its new health care directive last spring, which offered “preferential treatment based on race” to patients of color. Thereby, white patients will presumably receive suboptimal treatment — an objective violation of the Hippocratic Oath and even the law, with infringement on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Suppose this policy sees the light of day; in that case, even if its tenure is short-lived due to its illegalities, it will set a precedent in that proposals to enact similar policies in hospitals across the nation will emerge. Gone are the days when medicine remained apolitical, but perhaps there exists a solution, or for the time being, a mitigation measure driven by a joint effort.
Despite no major pushback against this political agenda by major academic institutions, those who believe in medical innovation that could make or break humanity’s survival tomorrow will call it how it is: an attack on humanity’s millennia-long way of life. For example, Aruna Khilanini, a board-certified psychiatrist, hosted a seminar at Yale University, where she used the majority of her time to express her contempt and violent fantasies against white people, “I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step like I did a world a favor” which represented her entire speech in one sentence. Subsequently, she received public backlash, to which Yale eventually denounced her seminar. Ironically, woke culture, an ideology that was hell-bent on fighting racism, was now turned on its head to pounce on another group of people with a different racial identity. By voicing rejection against any worrisome developments that risk mingling politics with a profession involving life and death, awareness for this issue will surely increase, and ultimately, would get major institutions to oppose it. Equally important, one phone call to one’s state representative could make all the difference, with the same impactful effect in collecting signatures for a law that would prevent political intrusion onto healthcare. Categorically, calling out injustice, particularly in medicine, works and is more critical than ever in keeping the practice alive.
We can stop politics’ influence on medicine through a vocal, collective effort. Medicine is the answer to a deep, human interpersonal need that, if left untreated, will wipe our species off of the face of the earth. At its core, medicine is the noblest profession rooted in the service of humanity, but with partisan agendas leaking in, the patient’s best interest is not upheld. Today’s physicians are no longer impulsive people with blades on hand, but intelligent, interactive professionals whose job is also to maintain a good standing patient-doctor relationship; however, with woke ideology that discriminately dictates which group of people to treat, medicine will never be the same. A salesman could make a half-baked pitch and get away with it, an educator could give up on their students, but if a doctor makes a mistake, the patient could die. Whether one is an aspiring medical student, a politician in office, or even a regular citizen who honestly cares about the security and prosperity of future generations, it is essential that now, society must assume some degree of action against the erosion of medicine before irreparable damage is done. While the line is holding, for now, politics are insidiously turning this generation of young medical professionals into bureaucrats.
Hi, my name is Christopher Trinh but people often call me Chris for the sake of simplicity. I grew up in Milpitas, California but relocated to San Jose at a young age. Currently, I have the privilege of attending Bellarmine College Preparatory as a rising freshman where I am and will be pursuing my interests and academic ambitions for the next four years. After years of trial and error, I discovered that writing is the best medium where I can freely express my thoughts and opinions; yet, at the same time, I have a strong leaning towards the field of STEM. In terms of athleticism, I religiously swim for Bellarmine and bike in my free time.
Christopher Trinh is a grammar student at VoicED