First Do No Harm

In our old bathroom, anticipating a renovation, we let all occupants, frequent or otherwise, write what came to mind. Most were tasteful, some we had to temporarily paint over.

 “Always have high hopes and low expectations”

“Bad Wolf”

and the one I currently have as my motto:

“First, do no harm”. 


The saying is often associated with the Hippocratic Oath – the creed of health practitioners since ancient times. I have discovered that it is simple to say but often difficult to apply; not only to medical decision making but also to the way we approach the world and all the creatures in it.

First, do no harm.

To live by this motto, every decision you make must be filtered through a calculation; the first calculation being “am I doing harm?” and the second “if I am doing harm, is it justified?” It ends up the calculation almost always skips to part 2. Some may even say that every thought or every intent causes harm in one way or another.

I interpret “first, do no harm” as a directive to default to harm avoidance. Any other action must be justified.

In my medical practice, I often shake my head and say to myself: “we haven’t got a clue”. Life on earth has been evolving for 3.5 billion years. Adapting, changing, becoming more complex. Our understanding of how life works cannot help but be miniscule. In the face of 3.5 billion years of evolution, doctors and healers must remain humble. We must tread as lightly as possible in the workings of living creatures.

This is why I love homeopathy. Such a light touch. Such respect for the living organism.


David Brulé BA, DHMS(Can.), Homeopath, Homeopathic Researcher


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