a moral code for ethical conduct and practice in medicine, established according to the ideals of hippocrates
. The text is as follows: “I swear by Apollo the physician, by Aesculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment the following oath: To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone, the precepts and the instruction. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners (specialists in this art). 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. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or outside of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.”
Hip·po·crat·ic Oath (hip'ō-krat'ik ōth),
An oath taken by physicians usually on receiving the doctoral degree, whereby they promise to observe ethical principles in the practice of medicine. The oath is named for Hippocrates of Cos (470-380 bce), who belonged to the medical guild or brotherhood of sclepiads and is honored as the Father of Medicine because he first separated the art and science of medicine from philosophy and religion. But although the oath survives among the numerous and various writings composing the hippocratic corpus, modern scholars doubt that it was the work of Hippocrates himself. Its prohibition of suicide, euthanasia, abortion, and surgery (all of which were accepted or condoned among the Asclepiads) suggests rather a Pythagorean origin. The date of its composition and the original manner of its use are unknown.
I swear by Apollo the Physician, Asclepius, Hygeia, Panaceia, and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill this oath and this covenant according to my ability and judgment:
To regard him who teaches me the art of medicine as equal to my parents; to share my life with him and, if he is in need, my sustenance; to regard his children as my brothers and to teach them this art, if they wish to learn it, without fee or covenant; to give instruction, written, oral, and practical, to my sons and the sons of my teacher, as well as to any students who have signed a covenant and sworn an oath according to the canons of our profession, but to no others.
I will apply therapeutic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment, and will abstain from harm and wrongdoing.
I will not give a lethal drug to anyone requesting it, nor will I recommend the use of such. Likewise I will not give a woman an abortive drug.
I will live my life and practice my art in purity and in holiness.
I will not perform surgery, even on sufferers from stone, but will not interfere with those who engage in such work.
Whatever houses I enter, I will do so for the benefit of the sick, refraining from all intentional wrongdoing and misconduct, particularly from sexual involvement with persons of either gender, whether free or slaves.
I will not divulge anything of a private nature regarding people's personal lives that I see or hear, whether in the course of my professional activities or not, because I recognize the shamefulness of revealing such information.
If I carry out this oath and do not break it, may I find satisfaction in life and the practice of my profession and may I deserve honor among men forever. If I violate it and swear falsely, may the opposite be my lot.
Graduates of nearly all U.S. and Canadian medical schools recite, during commencement ceremonies, some form of pledge to observe ethical principles in the practice of medicine. But few institutions now use the original text of the hippocratic oath, and most graduates appear to regard the exercise as a mere formality or a bow to tradition rather than a legally or morally binding covenant. Modern versions of the oath typically omit remnants of culturally extinct usages such as promising to teach the art of medicine to one's teachers' children without charge and to refrain from performing surgery. More significantly, most of them also omit the invocation of any deity, the mention of sacred duties or obligations and of penalties incurred for their violation, and the foreswearing of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, abortion, and sexual involvement with patients. In its decision in Roe et al. v. Wade (1973), The United States Supreme Court rejected the authority of the hippocratic oath in prohibiting abortion on the grounds that the oath did not reflect ancient cultural norms but rather owed its long preservation to the influence of Judeo-Christian views on abortion. The familiar precept, First, to do no harm (often quoted in Latin, "Primum non nocere"), is of unknown origin, but it is not part of the hippocratic oath.
Hippocratic Oath The ethical guide for physicians, delineated in the 5th century BC; although it has been attributed to Hippocrates, the father of medicine and his school, the 'Oath' is of uncertain origin. See Code of Hammurabi.
'I swear by Apollo the physician, by Aesculapius, Hygeia and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, and all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and judgement the following Oath:
To consider dear to as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone, the precepts and instructions. I will prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and judgment and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked nor give advise which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion. I will preserve the purity of my life and practice my art. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest, but will leave this operation to be done by practitioners of this art. Into whatever house where I come, I will enter only for the benefit of the sick, keeping myself far from all intentional mischief and corruption, and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves. All that come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or outside of my practice or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spoken abroad, I will keep secret and not divulge. If I keep this oath unviolated may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times, but should I trespass this oath, may the reverse be my lot'
Hippocrates, Greek physician, 460-370 B.C.
hippocratic - relating to, described by, or attributed to Hippocrates.
hippocratic facies - sunken appearance of facial features seen in dehydration.
hippocratic fingers - clubbing of the fingers.
Hippocratic Oath - an oath demanded of physicians about to enter the practice of their profession.
hippocratic splash - Synonym(s): hippocratic succussion
hippocratic succussion - a diagnostic procedure to test for obstruction of the pylorus of stomach. Synonym(s): hippocratic splash
hippocratism - a system of medicine attributed to Hippocrates and his disciples that is based on the imitation of nature's processes in the therapeutic management of disease.