What is A Doctor / Physician?

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[ What is a doctor / physician? ]


By Dr. Chung-Hwei Chernly 11/03/03

For thousands of years of human history, in all nations, there have been hundreds of professions that people chose to make their living, such as carpenter, fisherman, barber, teacher, farmer, musician, physician, cook, tax collector, shepherd, tent maker, accountant, lawyer, engineer, preacher, salesman, and so on. Among them, almost all professions can be found in this country, and all of them are well recognized, and are treated fairly and respectfully, except the Oriental physician who practices Oriental medicine. The Federal government and most state governments, including Texas and their medical agencies, so far still do not want to recognize Oriental physician as physician, and even make a rule prohibiting them identifying themselves as physicians.

Who is a doctor or a physician? It seems very odd to ask this kind of question in foreign countries, because almost everybody knows the answer: “A physician or one called a doctor is a person who is licensed to practice medicine, whether it is Chinese medicine or American medicine.” This concept has been defined in the dictionary and has become recognized world wide. However, due to the ignorance, misunderstanding, pride and prejudice, in addition to their ambition, a group of people have been seriously discriminating, depriving, and robbing the rights of Oriental medical doctors. Consequently, millions of patients’ rights also have also been deprived physically, mentally, and financially. This will be described in an article in health insurance section.

Physicians practiced medicine in occidental or oriental world for thousands of years. Whether or not those physicians had been to school, they could not be offered doctorate, master or bachelor degrees, because those degree programs were not available at that time. Even until not very long ago, only a few countries, such as Germany, Japan, and the U.S., had medical schools that started offering doctorate degrees. However, in other countries, which are the majority of the world, they just offer bachelor degrees to their medical school graduates. Although they don’t have doctorate degrees, they are still physicians. That is the historical fact and the definition of this career name has never been affected.

 However, a group of people in this country is trying to redefine this common career name, physician, as “Only a person holding doctorate degree can be called a physician, such as M.D., D.O., and D.C”. That is an anti-history and anti-society movement. If we accept that new definition, then we should deny Hippocrates*, William Harvey*, and Luke*, etc. as physicians, because, as what we believe, they did not hold doctorate degree.  Furthermore, in the world nowadays, 90% of the physicians without holding M.D. or D.O. degrees need to consider changing their career titles or to change jobs.  It is ridiculous!

* Hippocrates, a Greek physician, (460 – 377 B.C.), was called the Father of Medicine. He introduced a so called scientific approach to healing by seeking physical Causes for disease.

* William Harvey, an English physician, (1578 – 1657 B.C.), discovering the circulation of the blood

* Luke, a Syrian physician, (4 B.C. – 80 A.D.), is also a historian, a companion of Apostle Paul, and the reputed author of the third Gospel, Luke and the Acts of Apostles.

Thought 1 :  Do you know how long ago, in this country, from which medical school in which year, whichever first started changing the degree program to offer a doctorate to its medical school graduate?

Thought 2 :  Is M.D. equal to physician? Is degree equal to career?

Thought 3 :  Who is the real physician?  Shouldn’t we humble ourselves before Him?


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