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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old February 13 2013, 08:48 PM   #31
TiberiusMaximus
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Bashir has certainly chosen to do harm previously, firing his sidearm at various opponents or piloting a runabout in combat.

We have to consider whether medical ethics extend to a medical practitioner's entire life, or just his or her practicing of medicine.
I believe the "do no harm" part of the oath means "do no harm to patients under my care."

Doctor Crusher erased someone's memory on two or three occasions (or tries too) without the person's expressed permission. So it's apparently not against Starfleet medical ethics.
That's quite disturbing.
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Old February 14 2013, 02:12 PM   #32
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Ibelieve the "do no harm" part of the oath means "do no harm to patients under my care."
But if I'm practicing combat medicine on the battlefield, everybody is a "patient under my care", especially the enemy trooper whose arm I just blew off with my machine gun.

Starfleet medics are combatants, meaning they have to confront the above situation often enough. The idea of separating victims into those I care for and those I don't doesn't work very well, then. Crusher would be facing a battlefield often enough, also (and especially) inside her own sickbay; much of the time, she'd be tasked with wielding a weapon there.

This makes it a bit pretentious of her to do no harm during working hours or with specific patients or whatever the specifics. A good reason to drop the pretense, then, and to accept that occasionally it is the medic's duty to do harm, just like it on occasion is the Chief Engineer's duty to see to it that machinery gets damaged or destroyed.

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Old February 14 2013, 02:31 PM   #33
Nagisa Furukawa
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

The episode says some incredibly frightening and bizarre things about Federation morality. To me, the issue comes down entirely to consent. Kurn gave his consent to be killed, he wanted to die, there were just strange cultural reasons he couldn't hold the knife himself, so he wanted his brother to do it. Kurn didn't give his consent WHATSOEVER to be mindwiped, brainwashed and surgically altered to completely gain a new identity. So to have the enlightened Federation yell at Worf for trying to do the first while having no problem and help him do the second is unusually barbaric. This isn't even "Ooh, DS9 is showing the Federation ain't all that, they're dark too..." It's like they don't even realize the horrific implications of their pulled-out-of-their-ass ending to their anti-euthanasia episode.
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Old February 14 2013, 02:55 PM   #34
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Kurn didn't give his consent WHATSOEVER to be mindwiped, brainwashed and surgically altered to completely gain a new identity.
On the other hand, many posters here have already expressed the opinion that mindwiping was "as bad as" murdering Kurn. Kurn gave his consent to one kind of murder because he wished to die, so it makes sense to assume the consent would extend to all types of murder, including mindwiping.

When the first murder was interrupted, those responsible did not yet know of the consent. Sisko was personally against the murder even after being educated about the context and the consent; apparently, Bashir was not. Which is fine and well, because neither Bashir nor anybody else we've seen in the 24th century has actually expressed anti-euthanasia sentiments. (Lwaxana Troi didn't like "forced euthanasia" in "Half a Life", but that's hardly relevant.)

It would be a bit much to interpret "Sons of Mogh" as taking a stance on euthanasia anyway. Klingons are always killing each other for weird reasons; this need not involve ethics or morals of any sort, nor should our heroes or the audience be interested in taking stances on the absurdities. That part of the story is just a vehicle for Worf to get into conflict with the Klingon Empire in yet another entertaining manner.

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Old February 14 2013, 08:25 PM   #35
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

But if I'm practicing combat medicine on the battlefield, everybody is a "patient under my care", especially the enemy trooper whose arm I just blew off with my machine gun.
Um, no, you totally missed my point. I'm saying that when Bashir is in a combat situation, he's no longer acting as a medic or a doctor but as a soldier and therefore not violating his Hippocratic Oath. According to what we've seen onscreen, Bashir doesn't view the Klingons he's shooting at as patients under his care.
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Old February 14 2013, 08:29 PM   #36
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

And similarly, Crusher would not need to view the enemy aliens in need of a memory wipe as "patients", merely as "targets".

Kurn isn't ill, either. He's no patient of Bashir's. But he could well be a legitimate target of Bashir's.

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Old February 14 2013, 08:51 PM   #37
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Uh...what? Now you're saying that Kurn was the bad guy in this episode, that he was an enemy Bashir needed to destroy? That doesn't make any sense.
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Old February 14 2013, 09:05 PM   #38
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

^Why not think of Bashir as not a physician in the case of mind-wiping Kurn, but as an assassin with a very specific skill set and technique for eliminating targets. If Worf hired him to help assassinate Kurn in a Klingonesque way, then Bashir wasn't a doctor during the operation, but a hired hand.
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Old February 14 2013, 09:06 PM   #39
Timo
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

It's just another tactical situation for Bashir. When treating Kurn's wounds, he's Kurn's doctor. When erasing Kurn's memory, he's not. "Enemy" or "target" is not a moral assessment: it's something an officer accepts as part of mission specs.

And in this case, the mission was to deal with Kurn's desire to die, Worf's desire to manage the social standing of the sons of Mogh, Sisko's desire to regulate (not ban outright) his officers' murderous activities, and a host of other related concerns. Whatever moral considerations there were, they were not medical ones, and Bashir did not need to wear his medical hat for this.

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Old February 14 2013, 09:07 PM   #40
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Julian Bashir is not an assassin and I think the idea of being hired to use his doctor's skill in such a way would disgust him. What he did in this episode seems very out of character.
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Old February 14 2013, 09:11 PM   #41
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Julian Bashir is a secret agent whenever he gets the opportunity. Outside the holodeck, he's a part-time doctor at best, and quite at home with assassination missions, open combat and other daredevil activities. We know for an often promoted fact that he doesn't feel he should refrain from killing people, in the right circumstances: he's as much a baby killer by training and oath as, say, Sisko or Yar or Giotto is, in addition to being a doctor.

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Old February 14 2013, 09:12 PM   #42
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Firing a phaser is different than performing surgery. I personally think he would see the difference and object to combining the two. Kurn isn't an enemy soldier.
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Old February 14 2013, 09:22 PM   #43
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Firing a phaser is different than performing surgery.
Hardly, if the surgery is conducted by a phaser.

Technicalities should rightly be ignored here. Even today, assassinations can be conducted with medical equipment; it's not a question of technology at all.

Whether Bashir is acting in the role of Kurn's doctor, Worf's friend or Starfleet soldier and law enforcer here, we don't really know, due to the profound ambiguity of the physical setting. But does that matter? We already have all the bases covered:

- We know that doctors in the UFP are not opposed to euthanasia in general, even if McCoy feels bad about jumping the gun with his dad.
- We know that Bashir is all for queer Klingon customs and mores when buddying up with Worf, even if only in order to impress Dax.
- We know that Starfleet officers, the only established soldiers and law enforces of the Federation, can and will kill people outside situations of declared war or self-defense.

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Old February 14 2013, 10:30 PM   #44
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

IMHO, Bashir acted within the bounds of the Hippocratic Oath. Assuming he took the phrase "do no harm" to mean "preserve the patient's life", then what he did certainly qualified as that, because if he didn't wipe Kurn's memory, Kurn would have died. So the act of wiping said memory preserved Kurn's life, therefore, no harm was done (according to human medical ethics).

As for Worf killing Kurn: I maintain that they should have gone to Bajor, then they could have legally carried out the ritual. On DS9, it wouldn't work, because while the station is owned by the Bajorans, it's run by the Federation, so it's considered Federation territory. Bajor, at that time, was not a Federation member, and I doubt they would have interfered (heck, for all we know, Bajoran law might contain a similar honor code!), so if Worf had killed Kurn on Bajor, the Federation could not do anything about it.

Actually, what would really be interesting is if we later found out that the wiping of Kurn's memory was actually done with Kurn's own consent. Maybe Kurn chickened out and didn't want to die, so at the last minute he allowed Bashir to do this procedure, knowing that he would never remember it (and thus not consider his life to be without honor).
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Old February 14 2013, 11:26 PM   #45
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Re: Was altering Kurn's memory "Kahlessian"?

Kurn, chickening out? That's harder to believe than Bashir as an assassin!
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