Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hypocrisy and the Hippocratic Oath

"Hippocrates would not recognise his oath if he were to attend a graduation ceremony today," writes MercatorNet's Michael Cook — I swear by Apollo, the healer. He continues,
    Obviously some of its anachronistic features had to go. Swearing by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea is no longer binding. Hippocrates’ students were exhorted to share their goods with their master and “To look upon his children as my own brothers”. If only…

    More controversially, the Greek oath contained clauses forbidding abortion and euthanasia. It was said to be the first time that killing and curing had been separated. Hippocrates was devoted only to healing his patients regardless of rank, age or sex. But both of these procedures are highly contested today. In a 1993 survey of medical oaths in the US and Canada, only 14 percent banned euthanasia, and only 8 percent abortion.

    Hippocrates also took a much tougher line on sexual relations with patients. “In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.” Only 3 percent of US and Canadian oaths prohibited such contact.

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