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The Hippocratic Oath

ca. 400 B.C.

Hippocrates – Greek physician of the Cos’ school (460-377 B.C.) – freed medicine from the magical-sacral conception and made it become a science based on rational diagnosis and therapy method. The candidates were admitted in his school only after having taken the “Oath” by which they were asked to follow a real deontological code of high ethical value. The Hippocratic Oath is still considered as a reference point under many viewpoints, from the respect for life to the privacy policies. 

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold the one who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law,- but to no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from either give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.

Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.

In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favour of such men as are engaged in this work.

Into whatever houses I may enter, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining clear of all voluntary injustice and of other mischief and of sexual deeds upon bodies of females or males, be they free or slave.

Things I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of treatment regarding the life of human beings, things which one should never divulge outside, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken.

If I fulfill this Oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.