The Hippocratic Oath vs. the New Medical Oaths

The Hippocratic Oath vs. the New Medical Oaths October 18, 2022

Yesterday’s post about sterilizing young children in the name of “gender affirmation” makes us wonder, how could doctors do such a thing?

From time immemorial, physicians have sworn to “do no harm.”  Of course, they have also sworn not to commit abortion.  Or euthanasia.  Those parts have been omitted in the many versions of the Hippocratic Oath that physicians have to take upon graduation from medical school, before they enter the profession.

Here is the original version, dated from the 3rd or 4th century B.C.  It invokes the Greco-Roman gods of healing and reflects the medical practices of the day.

The early church Christianized the oath.  Here is The Christian Hippocratic Oath, dated from the 2nd or 3rd century A.D., first recorded in the 4th century, and written out in the shape of a Cross (see illustration, above), a beautiful expression of medicine as vocation:

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, be blessed for ever and ever. I do not lie.

I will not tarnish the science of medicine.

I will not give anyone poison, even if he asks me for it, nor will I suggest anyone to take it.

Likewise, I will not induce abortion in any woman with treatment from above or below.

I will teach the art to those who want to learn it, without hiding anything from them and without making them my servants.

According to my ability and judgement, I will only apply my treatments for the benefit of the sick. I will practice my art with purity and holiness.

In whatever house I enter, I shall enter to help the sick, and I shall refrain from any action, intentional or unintentional, that may cause harm or death, and from any erotic intercourse with servant or free, male or female.

I will keep silent about everything I see or hear, on the occasion of my internship (or even outside of it in my social relations), and I will consider these things as a sacred secret.

If I keep this oath and do not break it, may God help me in my life and in my art, and may I be honoured of men. If I remain faithful, may I be saved; but if I swear falsely, may the contrary befall me.

Here is the watered down and uglified Modern Version, that has been used by many medical schools.  But in a 1989 survey of 126 American medical schools, only three used the original oath; 67 used the modified version; others used alternatives or didn’t bother with any of them.  A survey in 1993 found that only 14% of medical oaths taken prohibited euthanasia, and only 8% prohibited abortion.

Now, though, we are in the era of woke academia, so a new kind of oath has emerged, one that heralds a new approach to medicine.  What follows is from the University of Minnesota White Coat Ceremony, in which new students are given their white lab coats, symbolizing their entry into the field of medicine.  In keeping with postmodernist notion that ethical principles are self-constructed, rather than being tied to transcendent truths, students come up with their own oath, as composed by a committee from the class.  Here it is:

Image

So the upcoming physicians commit themselves to oppose the “gender binary,” the existence of two sexes, which they classify along with white supremacy, colonialism, and ableism in the demonology of “oppression.”  Just as Hippocrates invoked the Greek deities and Christian physicians invoked “God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” this oath invokes the totems of wokeism.

Most interestingly, though, it also makes the future doctors “pledge to honor all indigenous ways of healing that have historically been marginalized by Western medicine.”  So much for modern medicine!

 

Illustration:  A 12th century Greek manuscript of the Christian Hippocratic Oath, used in book: Foto de la Biblioteca Vaticanascan from book: User:Rmrfstar – page 27 of Surgery: An Illustrated History by Ira M. Rutkow, M.D. published in 1993: ISBN 0801660785., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1446714

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