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A doctor’s oath and occupied Palestine

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Eleven years ago, Dr Ritika Goel took an oath.

Part symbolic ritual, part solemn commitment, it is the Hippocratic oath that doctors have been obliged to recite for millennia. Dr Goel, a Toronto family physician and teacher, has made it plain throughout her career that every word of that oath imbues her every deed as a healer.

Beyond her fidelity to the oath’s more familiar aspects, Dr Goel, by all accounts, has always kept this lesser-known instruction front of mind: “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings.”

As such, in her practice, Dr Goel has tended to the poor, the homeless, the stateless, the addicted, the troubled in mind, body and spirit. And, unlike her often more circumspect colleagues, she has spoken up, whenever necessary, in her patients’ defence because that “special obligation” requires her to do so.

Dr Goel understands, her friends say, that this abiding obligation extends to human beings in desperate need beyond Canada’s borders. In the past, this has meant expressing solidarity, from time to time, with besieged Palestinians on Twitter and elsewhere.

So, when violence erupted earlier this month in Israel and occupied Palestine, Dr Goel exercised her obligation yet again to draw attention – as deliberately as she could – to the suffering and trauma being visited largely upon Palestinian children, women and men.

Shortly after she tweeted in support of the Palestinians, a letter was released, penned allegedly by “students, residents, and physicians” affiliated with the University of Toronto’s medical school, where she teaches.

The letter is a ridiculously short and, at times, nonsensical, jargon-laced, hodgepodge of........

© Al Jazeera

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