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Old July 6 2012, 05:10 PM   #346
horatio83
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

It is not meant to be heroic, like all sublime ethical acts it is meant to be horrific.

Anyway, it is in my opinion the greatest episode of ENT as it assumes like no other Trek story the view of an alien. It would have been even better if Archer had disagreed with Phlox, if this tension between the human and the Denobulan view had been maintained. Archer's best relationship, the one with Shran, is after all also an one in which differences are maintained.
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Old July 6 2012, 05:22 PM   #347
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
It is not meant to be heroic, like all sublime ethical acts it is meant to be horrific.

Anyway, it is in my opinion the greatest episode of ENT as it assumes like no other Trek story the view of an alien. It would have been even better if Archer had disagreed with Phlox, if this tension between the human and the Denobulan view had been maintained. Archer's best relationship, the one with Shran, is after all also an one in which differences are maintained.
Except the Denobulan view is the patient's rights are supreme and if a patent asks to be treated, its the duty of a Denobulan doctor to treat that patient. Phlox is immoral from both human and a Denobulan viewpoint. What happened to the Hippocratic oath? Does Phlox have the right to ignore the Hippocratic oath whenever he feels like it? I wouldn't want an doctor like that.

Frankly in this episode Phlox was either an incompetent idiot or an evil biologist who believed in insane social Darwinist about only the fit being allowed to survive. So he was either Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama or Mr. Sinister from the X-Men. That's great choice.
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Old July 6 2012, 07:51 PM   #348
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Except the Denobulan view is the patient's rights are supreme and if a patent asks to be treated, its the duty of a Denobulan doctor to treat that patient. Phlox is immoral from both human and a Denobulan viewpoint. What happened to the Hippocratic oath? Does Phlox have the right to ignore the Hippocratic oath whenever he feels like it? I wouldn't want an doctor like that.
The Hippocratic Oath is a human (and not necessarily a worldwide) convention. It doesn't bind Phlox.

Anyway, a question. Where or when does Phlox say that Denobulan ethics require that a patient get treatment if he or she asks? I recall (in, for example, The Breach) him saying that he can't treat someone who refuses treatment (right before he disregards that), but I don't remember him saying the corollary principle.
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Old July 6 2012, 08:08 PM   #349
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

The Hippocratic Oath forbids abortion and euthanization and hardly a decent contemporary guidelines for medical ethics. I think The Breach tried to address this indirectly via showing a superior principle (I doubt that Denobulan doctors are forbidden to treat people who cannot make good judgements because pf psychological or neurological issues).

PHLOX: The will of the patient is the cornerstone of Denobulan medical ethics.

I think it is safe to guess that this works both ways. But to get back to Dear Doctor, as Phlox rightly points out the issue is more complicated than a simply treatment of the common cold or even an "ordinary" plague that kills millions. He literally changes the DNA of these folks.
I do not think that he is bound by Denobulan medical ethics in this instance precisely because it is more than a mere medical case.
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Old July 6 2012, 08:29 PM   #350
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

If Phlox and Archer were put before the Nuremberg judges, they'd end up swinging by their necks for the Valakis Holocaust.

It is true that this tradgedy was ongoing before they came along, but once they became involved they crossed a line, and became responsible to the Valakians, to prevent their tragedy as far as they could. And so, when they wilfully decided not to do that, but to allow their extinction, they became morally culpable. They had the power to prevent millions of people from dying, but they decided to let them die. And apparently they didn't even lose a night's sleep over it.

Also, it had nothing to do with "allowing nature to take its course". That argument is always a bullshit copout - nature is not driven by a mind, it is a random series of events. Every and any event that happens anywhere in the universe is part of the course of nature, including the works of intelligent beings. There is no such thing as "going against nature", because people are themselves of nature and a part of the same. The Empire State Building is as much a part of nature as the trees of Amazonia. The anthropomorphized "mother nature" trope has, however, been so heavily popularised in the media, entertainment and the arts, for perhaps a century or more... with nature essentially attributed the properties of some sort of overseeing goddess, that many people today are almost incapable of comprehending the utter neutrality that is the reality of nature.

Which brings us to the predicament of the Valakians. They had a random glitch in their DNA, which was a ticking time bomb that would inevitably mutate and cause their DNA to collapse and wipe them out eventually.

The course of nature had brought them to this predicament. But the course of nature also threw the starship Enterprise their way. Nature was neither for nor against the Valakians. Of nature was their doom, and of nature was their potential salvation. Anyway, I went on a bit of a side track there, back to Phlox and Archer...

They wilfully engaged in what would today legally be defined as Depraved Indifference. They developed a cure, and then decided to turn their backs and walk away without giving it to those who needed it.

It's hard to empathise with and root for a show's supposed heroes when they do something worthy of a dastardly Bond villain right in the first series.

I'm currently watching through Enterprise, as described in the thread I started on that in GTD, but at the minute I'm trying to just forget that "Dear Doctor" was in there.
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Old July 6 2012, 08:44 PM   #351
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

the issue is more complicated than a simply treatment of the common cold or even an "ordinary" plague that kills millions. He literally changes the DNA of these folks.
That's a red herring. The mechanism by which people have come by an affliction is not grounds to judge whether they ought to be cured of it.

Their DNA itself was disintigrating. Their DNA therefore needed to be fixed, removing the glitch that was causing it to self-destruct, so that it would hold together and the species would continue.

Phlox, using the medical science available to 22nd century humanity, was able to contrive a solution that would fix their DNA. Therefore, a solution to their situation was scientifically possible. The Valakians' own medical science had not produced a fix, but this can be attributed simply to the fact that the Valakians were a century or two behind the Humans, their medical tech was not yet advanced enough to find the solution by the time the condition manifested itself and started killing them off. They straight up were running out of time, they needed a breathing space as it were.

The thing about "changing their very DNA" is a flimsy excuse.
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Old July 6 2012, 08:45 PM   #352
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

If humankind cared about the Nuremburg principles every American president after WWII would have had to be punished.
Just like international law differs from national law space law has to differ from Earth law. Once the Federation is established the key space law for the Federation is the Prime Directive.
I'd like to add that a Federation ship would be forbidden to assist a pre-warp species like the Valakians under rule number one.
Furthermore I'd like to point out that death penalty is barbarism and thankfully eliminated on Earth in the 22nd century.
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Old July 6 2012, 08:54 PM   #353
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Deimos Anomaly wrote: View Post
If Phlox and Archer were put before the Nuremberg judges, they'd end up swinging by their necks for the Valakis Holocaust.
Yes, you can debate the ethical morality of doing nothing, but, no, Nuremburg JUdges couldn't sentence them to Death, doing nothing is not a crime. In America today, you are not required to aid someone in physical danger or someone in need of Medical care, and in fact, if you practice Medical care without a License, you can be sued or if something goes wrong, you could be sued. l'd imagine this is a pretty common law throughout the Western World.
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Old July 6 2012, 09:04 PM   #354
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

bluedana wrote: View Post
Where or when does Phlox say that Denobulan ethics require that a patient get treatment if he or she asks? I recall (in, for example, The Breach) him saying that he can't treat someone who refuses treatment (right before he disregards that), but I don't remember him saying the corollary principle.
It's implied.

We know that the patient's will is absolute, in Denobulan medical ethics. Phlox says so. So since Hudak (the Antaran) doesn't want to be treated, Phlox must respect this. He says that too.

The flip side of this is a natural derivation. If the patient can refuse to be treated, then logically, they must also be able to INSIST on being treated.
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Old July 6 2012, 09:20 PM   #355
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
bluedana wrote: View Post
Where or when does Phlox say that Denobulan ethics require that a patient get treatment if he or she asks? I recall (in, for example, The Breach) him saying that he can't treat someone who refuses treatment (right before he disregards that), but I don't remember him saying the corollary principle.
It's implied.

We know that the patient's will is absolute, in Denobulan medical ethics. Phlox says so. So since Hudak (the Antaran) doesn't want to be treated, Phlox must respect this. He says that too.

The flip side of this is a natural derivation. If the patient can refuse to be treated, then logically, they must also be able to INSIST on being treated.
Hmmm. You may be inferring that, but I'm not sure the dialogue gets you there, actually.

Here's the whole scene (courtesy of Chrissie's Transcripts):
PHLOX: Our two species have a complicated history. We've gone to war with the Antarans on several occasions.
ARCHER: Recently?
PHLOX: On the contrary. It's been three hundred years since our last conflict.
ARCHER: And there's still bad blood between you?
PHLOX: They've been particularly bitter disputes.
ARCHER: If you explain to him that he won't survive without your help, maybe he'd set the past aside for a few hours.
PHLOX: I seriously doubt it. He insisted I leave the room. I don't think you realise how much bad blood there is.
ARCHER: You could always sedate him and perform the treatment.
PHLOX: I have to respect his wishes.
ARCHER: Even if he wishes to die?
PHLOX: The will of the patient is the cornerstone of Denobulan medical ethics.
ARCHER: Don't you believe if you can help someone your ethically bound to do so?
PHLOX: Hippocrates wasn't Denobulan.
ARCHER: This is an Earth ship, Doctor. I won't let that man die in my Sickbay if it can be prevented.
PHLOX: Without his consent, there is nothing I can do.
ARCHER: I'm giving you an order.
PHLOX: I'm sorry, Captain, but I'm afraid I can't follow it.
I'm thinking if there were a hard and fast rule that a Denobulan doctor must treat a patient if asked, regardless of the circumstances, then the answer to Archer's question, "Don't you believe if you can help someone [you're] ethically bound to do so?" would be an unequivocal "Yes." It'sot clear that it works both ways, either in Dear Doctor or The Breach, based on Phlox's response.
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Old July 6 2012, 09:40 PM   #356
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

^ But Phlox wasn't asked by the patient to perform treatment. If he had been, then he must do it.

Phlox refused Archer's order simply because Archer is not the patient.
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Old July 6 2012, 10:46 PM   #357
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

bluedana wrote: View Post
Except the Denobulan view is the patient's rights are supreme and if a patent asks to be treated, its the duty of a Denobulan doctor to treat that patient. Phlox is immoral from both human and a Denobulan viewpoint. What happened to the Hippocratic oath? Does Phlox have the right to ignore the Hippocratic oath whenever he feels like it? I wouldn't want an doctor like that.
The Hippocratic Oath is a human (and not necessarily a worldwide) convention. It doesn't bind Phlox.
Why would Star Fleet Medical allow people who don't believe in the Hippocratic Oath to become doctors? That seems dangerous.

I'm pretty sure Star Fleet is cultural tolerant to a point, but when someone's cultural beliefs prevent them from doing their job, it becomes problematic. When Worf killed Duras, Picard gave him a reprimand, despite the fact what he did was within Klingon law.
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Old July 6 2012, 11:17 PM   #358
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

The Overlord wrote: View Post
bluedana wrote: View Post
Except the Denobulan view is the patient's rights are supreme and if a patent asks to be treated, its the duty of a Denobulan doctor to treat that patient. Phlox is immoral from both human and a Denobulan viewpoint. What happened to the Hippocratic oath? Does Phlox have the right to ignore the Hippocratic oath whenever he feels like it? I wouldn't want an doctor like that.
The Hippocratic Oath is a human (and not necessarily a worldwide) convention. It doesn't bind Phlox.
Why would Star Fleet Medical allow people who don't believe in the Hippocratic Oath to become doctors? That seems dangerous.

I'm pretty sure Star Fleet is cultural tolerant to a point, but when someone's cultural beliefs prevent them from doing their job, it becomes problematic. When Worf killed Duras, Picard gave him a reprimand, despite the fact what he did was within Klingon law.
The Hippocratic Oath doesn't really apply in The Breach. It says do no harm, and do what you can, it doesn't say anything about treating a patient against their will. Plus, there is no Starfleet in Enterprise, Phlox was simply an Alien Doctor on a Cultural Exchange.

Babylon 5 dealt with a similar matter. An Alien family had a son with a breathing problem that was killing him. The Doctor could fix it with a simple operation, however, the family's Religion didn't allow cutting/surgery, and so they refused to allow the Surgery. The Doctor went to the Commanding Officer to ask for permission to do the surgery, the Commander ordered him not to do the surgery unless the family agreed. The Doctor did the surgery anyways and the boy was fine. But, the family believed he was no longer pure and they killed him
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Old July 6 2012, 11:23 PM   #359
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Sindatur wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
bluedana wrote: View Post
The Hippocratic Oath is a human (and not necessarily a worldwide) convention. It doesn't bind Phlox.
Why would Star Fleet Medical allow people who don't believe in the Hippocratic Oath to become doctors? That seems dangerous.

I'm pretty sure Star Fleet is cultural tolerant to a point, but when someone's cultural beliefs prevent them from doing their job, it becomes problematic. When Worf killed Duras, Picard gave him a reprimand, despite the fact what he did was within Klingon law.
The Hippocratic Oath doesn't really apply in The Breach. It says do no harm, and do what you can, it doesn't say anything about treating a patient against their will. Plus, there is no Starfleet in Enterprise, Phlox was simply an Alien Doctor on a Cultural Exchange.

Babylon 5 dealt with a similar matter. An Alien family had a son with a breathing problem that was killing him. The Doctor could fix it with a simple operation, however, the family's Religion didn't allow cutting/surgery, and so they refused to allow the Surgery. The Doctor went to the Commanding Officer to ask for permission to do the surgery, the Commander ordered him not to do the surgery unless the family agreed. The Doctor did the surgery anyways and the boy was fine. But, the family believed he was no longer pure and they killed him
Hippocratic Oath does apply when Phlox chose not give the give the cure to the Valakians. I wouldn't want to be treated by a doctor who can hold medication I need to survive on a whim.
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Old July 6 2012, 11:27 PM   #360
Sindatur
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Sindatur wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post

Why would Star Fleet Medical allow people who don't believe in the Hippocratic Oath to become doctors? That seems dangerous.

I'm pretty sure Star Fleet is cultural tolerant to a point, but when someone's cultural beliefs prevent them from doing their job, it becomes problematic. When Worf killed Duras, Picard gave him a reprimand, despite the fact what he did was within Klingon law.
The Hippocratic Oath doesn't really apply in The Breach. It says do no harm, and do what you can, it doesn't say anything about treating a patient against their will. Plus, there is no Starfleet in Enterprise, Phlox was simply an Alien Doctor on a Cultural Exchange.

Babylon 5 dealt with a similar matter. An Alien family had a son with a breathing problem that was killing him. The Doctor could fix it with a simple operation, however, the family's Religion didn't allow cutting/surgery, and so they refused to allow the Surgery. The Doctor went to the Commanding Officer to ask for permission to do the surgery, the Commander ordered him not to do the surgery unless the family agreed. The Doctor did the surgery anyways and the boy was fine. But, the family believed he was no longer pure and they killed him
Hippocratic Oath does apply when Phlox chose not give the give the cure to the Valakians. I wouldn't want to be treated by a doctor who can hold medication I need to survive on a whim.
The Hippocratic Oath comment was related to The Breach, which is why I specified it didn't apply in The Breach
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