First Do No Harm: The Manipulation of Public Health for Non-Public Health Purposes and its Legal Consequences

Christopher Ogolla
Associate Professor, Savannah Law School

The well-known aphorism “first do no harm” (primum non nocere), used in many medical schools today and attributed to the Hippocratic oath, serves as a guide to “doctors in caring for their patients.” Although the oath has been described as individualistic, the aphorism holds equal if not a weightier value in public health practice. At its core, public health is concerned with promoting and protecting the health of populations. However, public health has often times been used to subvert the very same goals it is designed to achieve. This is what this Article refers to as using public health for non-public health purposes. The results can be, and often are, harmful to the practice . . . [Continue Reading]