Hippocrates and Healthcare

Physician, (460-370 B.C.). He is not called the "Father of Medicine"because he was the first physician; clearly, he was not the first. What won him this amply deserved designation was his founding, on the island of Cos, of the most traditional and advanced school of medicine of the ancient world. He studied inAthens but, following Greek custom, he travelled widely to Thessaly, Macedonia, and Thrace to broaden his experience. Numerous writings are attributed to him and, until a couple of hundred years ago, he was considered the ultimate medical authority. All doctors pay him homage when they take the "Hippocratic Oath." He urged doctors to maintain high professionalism and ethical standards and to discover the physical causes of illness.


The Oath of Hippocrates

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.



(Posting date 14 October 2009)

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