15/30 Days of deity devotion

Day 15: Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?

The Hippocratic Oath may not have been written by Hippocrates, or even used in his time, but it has for centuries served as a pledge of professionalism and code of ethical conduct for physicians.

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Æsculapius, and Hygeia, and Panacea, and all the gods and goddesses, that according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this oath and its stipulations — to reckon him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and to 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 other.

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 anyone 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 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 this art, respected by all men, in all time. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.

The Oath is part of the Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of medical texts of uncertain authorship associated written in the late 5th and early 4th centuries B.C.E. It was translated into German in the 1500s,CE and into other European languages in the 1700s. Other medical oaths have been composed throughout history, notably the late 12th – early 13th century CE Oath of Maimonides,  the 16th CE century Oath of Amatus, and the 20th century CE Declaration of Geneva.

All these oaths aim to model the physician’s practice on the highest ethical conduct in order to provide excellent care for each patient, aid the physician in renewing commitment to and taking satisfaction in the profession of medicine, affirm bonds with colleagues of the past, present and future, and constantly strive to increase the knowledge and skills of the profession as a whole.

The use of the Hippocratic and other oaths has fallen into decline at many medical schools in the 21st century as outdated and irrelevant in an era of multiculturalism, increasing bureaucracy, the institutionalized overwork and sleep-deprivation of medical students, overbearing insurance providers, skyrocketing drug and hospital costs, and time-clock mentality. Some physicians believe that these factors in fact make medical oaths even more important than before.

Image: Fragment of the Hippocratic Oath, Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 2547, 3rd century CE. Image © The Wellcome Trust via Wikimedia Commons

30 days of deity devotion meme



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s