Miguel Faria was the Editor of The Medical Sentinel, a publication of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which supports fundamental liberty for all people and governmental non-intervention in the Practice of Medicine. Miguel was a refugee from Cuba during the 1960s when that country was taken over by a communist revolution. He escaped with his family to the USA and went on to become a US citizen, a neurosurgeon, and a noted author of several books on history, liberty, and authoritarian governments. He has experienced communism first hand, as have many of our readers from liberated countries. He is our World Affairs Editor.
Why is Surgical Neurology International (SNI) discussing these political topics and not reporting on some new procedure in neurosurgery? The reason is simple: SNI stands for the patient, as should every doctor. SNI believes that you are a good citizen and family person, first; a physician, second; and a neurosurgeon, third. Too many neurosurgeons all over the world have gone to the operating room and left the administration of medicine to others. They left the politics to others. The result is that control of medicine was handed to people who have no understanding of the principle that the “Patient comes First” and have taken control of medicine for their own self-centered interests. SNI wants to keep all neurosurgeons informed of what is happening in their role as citizens, so that they can act to protect the Practice of Medicine for their patients. It is very difficult to regain power once you have lost it. Physicians have lost their power over the Practice of Medicine. It will take planning and time to get it back. Remember, you will not be able to do that new procedure or even report about it if you ignore your responsibility as a citizen to protect your liberty and that of others.
What Miguel is writing about below is how a country that has been dominated by authoritarian leadership for centuries and had a brief taste of freedom in the 1990s was converted back to a controlling government. It is about to continue that role today in its coming elections, which have been alleged to be corrupt to ensure that those in power remain in control, because the people have lost their individual liberty to control by their government. But a rebellion is stirring in Russia as it has across the globe in these historic times, involving 4 of the 7 billion people in the world. Some revolutions today are being taken over by others who want power over the people with centralized control and suppression of liberty. Others are becoming more free.
Our colleagues in Russia publish their journal on SNI quarterly and continue to produce good work. Read the English abstracts. Russia is a country whose creative people have given the world great works in music, literature, the arts, and innovative ideas in medicine in spite of its restrictive culture. Creativity is hard to suppress because it is individualistic. Yet, the birth rate in Russia is declining below the death rate, so the population is shrinking, and the life expectancy for men is 10 years lower than in other European countries. These alarming statistics are the results of governmental control of the lives of the people and medicine. The experiment in central control of the lives of others has been done, and it is a failure. Now the government is paying any family $9000 to have a second child and each additional child to raise the birthrate. Others over the world want to try the central government control experiment again and again. It will always fail. In the end, the patient suffers as the statistics above show. It always becomes a struggle for power over the people. The people want freedom for their own lives. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” says the USA Declaration of Independence.
We support our colleagues in Russia, who could never write what Miguel has written. You should be aware of those who would promise you everything and steal your freedom in the process. In the end, you and your patients will suffer.
Do not take liberty for granted — as many have in the USA — or someone else will take it from you, as we are experiencing today in the USA.
James I. Ausman, Editor-in-Chief, Surgical Neurology International, USA.