I am writing in response to the letter in the September 1 issue by John
Bezirganian, M.D., in which he supported physician participation in
Throughout history, governments have employed physicians to use their
medical skills in carrying out policies and practices that have since been
recognized as immoral. Medical experimentation in Nazi Germany and the U.S.
Public Health Service Tuskegee syphilis studies are but two examples. Many of
these policies were probably supported, or at least condoned, by a majority of
the citizens in these countries at the time.
When we enter the medical profession, we swear an oath to use our knowledge
and skills for the benefit of the sick. Due to this, our profession has
endured longer than any government, and we enjoy respect and honor that are
almost universal. Woe to the physician who uses our arts to carry out the
harshest punishment the state can give.