What is the Hippocratic Oath?

“I swear by Apollo the Physician, and by Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and calling upon all the gods and goddesses for witnesses, that I will, to the best of my ability and according to my judgment, fulfill this oath and this covenant.” These are the first lines of the Hippocratic Oath, which is regarded as the basis of medical ethics. Apparently, however, this oath did not come from the pen of Hippocrates. The oath forbids doctors from performing abortions, performing euthanasia, and performing surgical procedures. Furthermore, doctors vowed with the oath formula that they would keep everything they heard and seen secret (confidentiality). In the meantime, the oath also known as the Asklepiad oath has been replaced by the doctor’s oath.

Who Was Hippocrates?

Greek physician Hippocrates, born around 460 BC. on the island of Kos, descended from the noble Asklepiad dynasty, who noted the healing god Asklepios as their ancestor. He was also called Aesculapius – his symbol, the staff entwined with a snake, is still considered a sign of the healing profession today. From a young age, Hippocrates learned his craft from his father Heraleidas. As a doctor, he traveled around and deepened his knowledge on his travels. Even during his lifetime, Hippocrates was famous and appreciated. He later probably lived in Larissa, Cyprus, where he died around 370 BC. should have died. Hippocrates is considered the founder of modern medicine. He did not blame the gods for the course of diseases, but emphasized the importance of rational treatment by the doctor,

By the way…

If the Hippocratic oath were still valid today, medical students would be committed to their professors for life, because one clause in the oath reads: “I will respect the teacher who taught me this art as much as my parents, my life in community with him share and provide for him when he is in need. I will treat his descendants as brothers and teach them this lore without reward or contract, if they ask for it.”


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