Understand what the Hippocratic Oath is all about

Many of you may have already taken the Hippocratic oath, or something very similar to it. Let’s look at it. Have some fun first, and put yourself under Hippocrates’ tree. Have you heard of it? Traditionally it is said that Hippocrates of Kos taught his students under a certain platine, or plane tree. A similar tree some 500 years old stands in the same place, perhaps of the same stock.

Kos Town (214) Hippocrates Platane Paradasos via Compfight

The coordinates are 36º53’41”N27º17’27”E. Use Google Earth, which has a free download of its low resolution application, or Google Maps. Google some pictures of it.

Have you seen our forefather?

2008.11.03 - HippocratesCreative Commons License Adrian Clark via Compfight

Does your school still “do” this? Is it optional?

If it does, it’s usually at the end of medical school, part of the graduation ceremony. I remember clearly taking this oath decades ago. It really meant something to me. Years later, administration at my local hospital couldn’t understand why so many of us were taken aback by being mandated to sign confidentiality agreements… If the Hippocratic oath is understood, and taken seriously, all these other agreements are like acorns to a mighty oak.

I know… let’s all just refuse to sign these offensive things… listen to me, I just signed one. While grinding my teeth.

For Hippocrates, this oath was job one, day one. Any student not taking the oath was not permitted entry. Do you really have a good idea, a good grasp of what it means?

I confess. I didn’t. It meant a lot to me when I took the oath, even so.

It even means more to me now.

Take a look at the link below. You may find yourself also advocating the use of the Hippocratic oath year one, day one, job one.

Hear some passionate support of the Hippocratic oath, and Hippocratic vs secular medicine. He’s a bit long winded, but give him a chance. You’ll come out this you tube presentation looking at our heritage, our profession, and perhaps your life, differently.

UWMedicine. (2012, May 10). What Hippocrates knew and we have forgotten. [Video file].