Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine
The Oath of Hippocrates has guided physicians for over 2000 years and it says things about privacy, concern for the patient and morality we who presently care for the sick could consider.It is the oldest oath of ethics for Doctors that I know yet is is regularly violated today in Medicine with strong political and legal support.
OATH AND LAW OF HIPPOCRATES, "Harvard Classics Volume 38" ©1910 by P.F. Collier and Son. Placed in the Public Domain, June 1993.
He was born in the island of Cos between 470 and 460 BC and enlarged his education by extensive travel. This interesting document shows that in his time physicians were already organized into a corporation or guild, with regulations for the training of disciples, and with an esprit de corps and a professional ideal that can hardly yet be regarded as out of date.
Preamble: Life is short, and the Art long; the occasion fleeting; experience fallacious, and judgment difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate.
Commitment: I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation -- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others.
Patient centered: I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.
Health : I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel;
Babies: In like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion.
Character: With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art.
Know my limits: I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work.
Unselfish devotion to patients: Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves.Privacy and confidentiality: Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.
Consequences: While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.