First Do No Harm

EDITOR’S NOTE: The staff doctor here at The Shinbone Star is a little a little ticked off about the man at the top. No, not about Dutton Peabody, about Donald Trump!


In recent recordings with famous investigative reporter Bob Woodward, best known for breaking the Watergate scandal in 1972 for the Washington Post, President Donald Trump declares that the coronavirus is worse than the flu, despite his public dismissals to the contrary.

As early as Feb. 7, Trump candidly tells Woodward:

“It goes through air, Bob. It’s also more deadly than your, even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff.”

As a physician during a pandemic, this is beyond my comprehension. The president’s response borders on sociopathic. Does this man have no moral compass?

The president knew this virus was deadly, just like the scientists were telling us, and he purposely misled the American people. I have been tasked with educating patients with facts while Republicans in Washington were peddling lies.

I am working tirelessly to keep people safe, and Donald Trump is creating a political opportunity, downplaying the lethality of COVID-19 and protecting the precious stock market while simultaneously kowtowing to his unsophisticated base.

Publicly, the president boasted:

“If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”

But privately, in conversations with Woodward, Trump contradicts himself entirely:

“Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. Just today and yesterday some startling facts came out. It’s not just old — it’s plenty of young people.”

Medical people could have told you that. We are seeing it. There is no rhyme or reason with this virus. There is no way to downplay its lethal potential. Facts are facts, and we should all be taking precautions to protect ourselves and each other.

As a physician, it is hard to stomach that leadership could be so callous and dismissive of our health and safety. Trump minimized the danger of this virus, he risked our lives, the lives of the ones we love, the lives of Americans.

Trump told Woodward:

“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Yes, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

How thoughtful of him. As Americans gasp for breath and are systematically ventilated in the ICU, panic is exactly what he created.

As a physician, what I do and who I am are hard to separate. They are intertwined. If a patient comes to me with a complaint, I don’t “play it down.” I think the worst, rule it out and then go from there. This is how I was trained. This is how I was raised. This is what my faith tells me. This is my moral compass.

If you have chest pain, I don’t say, “It’s reflux, take a Tums.” Instead, I work it up, get an ECG, get labs, start aspirin, etc. I think the worst — first. I make sure the patient is not having a heart attack — first. I don’t lie. I don’t “play it down.” I take it seriously and face the situation because lives are at stake. I take care of the patient. Every patient deserves this. Every American deserves this.

My faith tells me that life is sacred. My training tells me that life is sacred. My parents taught me and my moral compass tells me. We deserve the truth, and we deserve leadership that will protect us from harm. Two hundred thousand Americans are gone. These are our people. They are each of us.

Many years ago, I took an oath that promised to first do no harm. Keeping the American public from the truth about COVID-19 has caused plenty of harm with the loss of many lives and no end in sight. The president did not heed those words. We should each take those words to heart.

First do no harm. Today, they are words to live by.

Make an appointment with The Shinbone Star’s own staff doctor on her own blog at

6 thoughts on “First Do No Harm

  1. I had a brush with health care this summer that probably saved my life because my doctor, while telling me not to panic, kept testing until she could reach a diagnosis for a symptom I was experiencing. Yes, I did panic when I got the results — but it turned out to be early enough for surgery to eliminate the problem. I’m recovering from surgery now with the knowledge that it could have been a hell of a lot worse and that I was very lucky my doctor didn’t dismiss it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First, kudos to you as as doctor who takes her patients seriously. Just before the pandemic hit, my husband went to our primary with severe right-sided abdominal pain. The doctor said it was a pulled muscle and told him to go home and rest. Hours later, I took him to the ER (he could barely walk at the point), and it was discovered he had a ruptured appendix. He was in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks. Needless to say, we have since changed doctors.

    As for King Trump, I truly believe his only purpose in life is to keep himself and his cronies wealthy. If hundreds of thousands of innocents have to die to keep the stock market up, so be it. It doesn’t really affect him, or his family, personally, does it?

    Liked by 1 person

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