Like most of you, I still mourn the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson. As I am also a black doctor, I watched with great interest the case against Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. This tragic case reminded me of a valuable lesson that every doctor also needs to always remember.
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Some of my experiences have involved similar issues, a father dealing with the loss of a son, drug intervention for a family member, and having patients who have been addicted to drugs.
As an African American physician, I have empathy for Dr. Murray, but if I had the opportunity I would ask him if he forgot what all medical students learn in the first year of medical school and that is, “first, do no harm.”
Doctors and other health professionals must keep this phrase in mind at all times even if iconic figures make requests that you know are not in their best interest and go against the basic privilege of the medical profession. Remember your Physician’s duty is to help, not harm, you.
I am Dr. Thaddeus John Bell, and, as always, my ultimate goal is to close the gap in health disparities for African Americans, as well as for the underserved.