Skip to main content

Nonmaleficence = do no harm

No one wants to be Maleficent. The Hippocratic Oath, Florence Nightingale Pledge, medical ethics, nonmaleficence--a rose (with thorns) by any other name. Bottom line: do no harm. This also proves a handy guideline for teaching, parenting, friendship, taekwondo sparring, and other interpersonal interactions or activities.
Is somebody going to get hurt? Then no. Or, if hurt is inevitable, what option will do the least amount of damage while providing maximum benefit? Vancomycin may leave an elderly patient's hearing and kidney function in ruins, but at least the patient will still live to buy hearing aids and go through dialysis. Some bleeding risk from anticoagulant medications outweighs the risk of a massive heart attack--bleeding can be stopped, whereas dead heart muscle can no longer be convinced to do its job.

Just like beauty in math is defined by minimal complexity and maximal applicability, nonmaleficence means minimal harm and maximal benefits. However, there is one other, significant factor to consider--patient preference. Nobody should force or persuade patients to pick a course of treatment or action that they do not want, even if it's "for their own good." Because otherwise, what's the bloody point of free will? And what about quality of life (which can go down the toilet really fast)? Also, what about happiness, or if one doesn't believe in happiness, at the very least, sidestepping sheer misery?

Many decisions in life are difficult. Yet, considering how short human lives are, why do people choose to remain in situations or relationships that make them miserable? Chronic unhappiness is in itself a health risk. The inflammatory responses of the body reacting to stress and toxic relationships are strongly correlated with higher blood pressure, risk of heart disease, and depression. In fact, unhappiness and negativity are not only toxic to a subject's health, much like secondhand smoke, they're also toxic to those around them.

Sometimes, martyrs end up not just sacrificing their own happiness, but that of those who care about them as well. So nonmaleficence isn't so straightforward after all, when one considers the whole person--lifestyle, preference, finances, living situation, in addition to symptoms and disease process or whatever "makes sense" logically. Ask first.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

3.2. ABO = blood type

In parts of Asia, people don't just consult the zodiac, star signs, and the eight numbers of one's birth (八字). There's an entire culture of personality decoding based on blood type. It all started in 1927 when Takeji Furukawa, a professor at Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s School, shared his research connecting personality traits with blood type. Since then, friends and romantic interests ask if one's A, B, AB, or O, and in Japan, people reportedly get discriminated against at school and work based on their blood type.


Correlation of personality with one's A, B, AB, or O blood has not been supported by many credible studies, but some people take this very seriously. If you know your blood type (and you really should), see if the traits below sound about right.

A: Contrary to the Western concept of a "type A personality," people with type A blood (and antigens) can take a long time doing something when they're not motivated, or finish the same task in a jiffy …

3.10. Crisis = time-limited, disruptive, challenge

Are you in a crisis? According to Erik Erikson, we all are. Erikson divides psychosocial development into eight stages. Each period comes with its own "crisis," which once resolved, yields an appropriate "virtue."

0-1.5 years: Baby learns to trust, or mistrust the world. The former yields hope; the latter does not. Seems like many of us are still working on this one.
1.5-3 years: Toddler's crisis (or rather, Toddler's parents' crisis) involves a battle between autonomy v. shame & doubt. Making it through this stage confirms the child's (free) will. No, _____, this does not mean you always get your way.
3-5 years: The Preschooler may struggle with initiative v. guilt, but "purpose" emerges as a way to make sense of it all (hence the Why? why? Whyyyyyyy? WHHHYYY?s). A little bit of guilt here and there is fine for the developing ego and superego.
5-12 years: The School-age Child feels anxious about industry v. inferiority, ideally striv…

TKD = taekwondo

We interrupt our regular programming of blood, guts and babies to talk about taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial arts form.

Tae = kick/strike with the foot.
The foot as a blade, as hammer, as hook, the blow that knocks someone out, a broom sweeping the enemy down, pushing an intruder to the ground.

Kwon = punch/strike with the hands.
The hands, fist or palm, can be knives, blocks for poles, a punch to the solar plexus, bladed support when one rolls or falls, or a friendly hand to help a competitor back up from the mat.

Do = the art, the way of life.
Like any relationship, one's journey in martial arts has ups and downs. There's a honeymoon period, initial excitement--passion or obsession, even. That may not last, but commitment does. There are milestones but also little bumps, minor or major injuries. Things get in the way of training, but some amazing people also support one along the way. Sometimes one learns to find fun in dressing in full storm-trooper sparring gear on a …