The word ‘ethics’, derived from Old French ‘ethiques’ and Greek ‘ethika’, refers to a system of moral principles governing the appropriate conduct for a person or group. From the very early times, medicine is a field in which ethical practices have been defined to differentiate between the right practices and the wrong. Medical ethics is the discipline of evaluating the merits, risks, and social concerns of activities in the field of medicine. Every major medical organization in the world supports a set of ‘ethical practices’ or a ‘code of conduct’ which regulate the physicians associated with a particular organization.
In general most of these codes lay down certain set of standards for professional conduct by the physicians, keeping in mind the best interests of the patients. The principles of medical ethics layed down by American Medical Association will give you a general idea about what medical ethics are all about.
Like the conventional medicine organizations, many homeopathic organizations have also set some code of conduct and ethical practices for their members. While the basis remains the same, there is a lot of difference in these codes. The reason for this is the lack of uniform regulation and laws which regulate homeopathic practice in various countries. While in some countries like India, homeopathy is well recognized and there are definite laws governing its practice, in most western countries, there are no separate laws which deal with homeopathy. The education structure also varies from country to country. In some places you need to be a conventional medical doctor to practice homeopathy and in others you don’t need any qualification at all. The difference is huge and uniform standards of practice are difficult to achieve as long as there is such disparity in the state and the status of homeopathy in different countries.
Still, the question of what is right homeopathic practice and what is wrong, is hotly debated. Within homeopathy, there are many factions – single remedy prescribers, multiple remedy prescribres, combination prescribers, people who prescribe solely on mentals or pathology and many others. Each faction calls its method right and there has never been any consensus on ‘what is homeopathy’. In the recent years the situation has only worsened with more homeopaths coming up with more ‘schools of thought’ and more divisiveness within community – not just on principles but also on gurus that people follow!
Another problem is that there is no single homeopathic body with international presence which can lay down some universal set of standards which can work as reference for national level organizations. We at Hpathy realize this state and the need for some uniformity in our conduct, irrespective of the national boundries. Therefore we have dedicated this whole issue of Homeopathy 4 Everyone to the questions of ethics in homeopathy practice. We have started a whole new section at Hpathy where we have collected the codes layed down by various homeopathic organizations. The next step will be to initiate a discussion within our community to set some global standards of moral conduct and agreed-on practices in our community. This is a very serious issue and I hope that the Hpathy community will participate actively in this effort. Once you have gone through all the ethical codes that we are publishing in this issue, send us your opinion and ideas for creating a universal code of conduct and ethics at email
This issue has seen the light of day due to the special effort and perseverance of one person – Siegfried Letzel. A special thanks to him for making this issue possible. I would also like to thank all the organizations who have kindly permitted us to reproduce their ‘code of ethics’ at Hpathy.
In this issue we have a famous homeopathic historian in our Hot-Seat. Prof. Jütte from Germany has discussed various issues related to the question of correct practices in homeopathy with Siegfried. I hope you will enjoy this discussion. David Little continues with his teachings of ‘Hahnemann’s Advanced Methods’. This time he will share some useful insights about managing a case. Edward shares with us a beautiful veterinary case and Dr. Cindee Gardner shares her experiences of 9/11. There is lot more. Read and enjoy!
Do send me your feedback about this issue at email. Your comments and suggestions about this journal and various articles published in each issue are very important to us. So don’t forget to write to us. We await your letters eagerly.