Andy Rutledge

Socialism:The Doctors Are Leaving

July 24, 2013 | By Andy Rutledge

The preposterously named Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is forcing skilled and principled physicians out of practice. Those who would not be thralls of the State are retiring rather than work in a manner they know to be dangerous for their patients and in all other ways immoral. Here, Dr. Thomas Hendricks, who lived through a transition to State-run medicine, explains why he left practice and warns of the consequences of socialized medicine.

* * *

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire, or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy.”

“I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it that they expect to depend on when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe if he is the sort of many who resents it—and still less safe if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

* * *

Though it describes reality, the preceding quote is actually an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. It is an explanation given by Dr. Hendricks, a distinguished brain surgeon, of why he joined Galt’s strike. Yes, even back in 1957, Rand accurately warned of the inevitable consequences of State-run medicine. She could do this because socialism is entirely predictable; its characteristics and consequences having been demonstrated in every nation every time it has been tried throughout human history. The unvarying results of socialism and State-run medicine are well documented.

So no, the fictitious Dr. Hendricks’ story and warning are not fiction. Physicians all over the US are leaving the practice and others are indicating that they soon will, far earlier than they’d otherwise planned. They refuse to work as slaves to the State. And yes, this means that only those physicians willing to be slaves and to follow State administration’s orders on care and compensation will remain. These are the ones to whom our lives and healthcare will be entrusted.

Medicine’s first precept is “First: do no harm.” Do you for one moment think your government can hold to that standard? No government ever has. And now they run medicine in the US.

God save us.

* * *

Background image: Courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek | Bild Ein Arzt und zwei Krankenschwestern bei einer Operation im Dr.-Georg-Sacke-Heim