Modern vs. Hippocratic Oath

Topics: Physician, Hippocrates, Medicine Pages: 4 (1251 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Throughout the history of medicine there has always been a need for shared commitment to ideals of moral, ethical and humane practice. The Hippocratic Oath, created by a compilation of works largely based on Hippocrates, has always stood as guidelines for the conduct of physicians. The Classical oath has and continues to serve well in preserving the sanctity of the medical profession while developing a basis for the respectful treatment of patients. However, this out-dated oath is not equipped to handle the modern trials and tribulations faced by physicians and health care in general. Many of its principles are simply unrealistic and inapplicable in today’s society. For this reason a revised version of the oath was written. As I will argue, this modern oath is necessary in defending the sacredness of a physician’s title in today’s ever changing world. This is a job the classical oath can no longer rightfully fulfill. In the original oath written by Hippocrates, a basis for commitment is set by beginning the document with solemnly promise to the Greek gods and goddesses of healing. In comparison to the modern oath, where no promises to a higher being are mentioned, many may find this religious vow necessary in constituting a shared moral code. However, the pagan beliefs of Hippocrates and the ancient Greeks stand irrelevant in today’s mass of monotheistic dominated cultures such as Christians, Jews and Muslims. It may also be warned that the removal of religion from the oath will degrade its purpose to little more than a tradition. The need for a higher promise to distinguish a physician as a trustworthy and honorable person may be viewed as problem itself though as it undermines the professional and educated standard of physicians alike. Furthermore, it may be qualified as unethical by many modern day standards for a physician in a country such as the United States, which was founded upon religious freedoms, to make decisions of life and death based on their...

References: Bell, Julie. "When Did Medical Students Begin Taking the Hippocratic Oath? | History News Network." History News Network. Baltimore Sunday, 17 May 2004.
Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. Print.
Tyson, Peter. "The Hippocratic Oath Today." PBS. PBS, 27 Mar. 2001. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
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