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Hippocratic Oath and Declaration of Geneva

ve8QAd   |   June 01, 1996

THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH
Long before the time of Christ this pagan physician called for a separation of the healing and killing functions of physicians. This new ethic passed into the Christian era and guided physicians until our time when, through abortion, certain physicians reestablished the dual role of healing and killing by doing abortions. With this, graduating classes of medical students across the country either (1) dropped the Oath completely, or (2) left out the abortion part and/or re-wrote the entire thing, leaving it only a bit of pseudo-ethical mush.

DECLARATION OF GENEVA
After World War II and the Nazi doctors, the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of the Geneva to update the Oath. Sadly, this one has been largely
forgotten. The text follows:

“I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity. I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due; I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity; the health of my patient will be my first consideration; I will respect the secrets which are confided in me; I will maintain by all means in my power the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession; my colleagues will be my brothers; I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics, or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient; I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity. I make these promises solemnly, freely, and upon my honor.”

The World Medical Association
Declaration of Geneva

MODERN DAY HIPPOCRATIC OATH
Last year a prestigious group of US physicians issued this restatement of the Oath in modern but dignified verse, relevant to our times, but true to the original ethic. The text follows:

“I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation:

“To reckon all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.

“I will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform act or omission with direct intent deliberately to end a human life. I will maintain the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.

“With purity, holiness, and beneficence I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.

“Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad I will not divulge, 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 and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.”

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