Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hippocrates amended

Thoughts from "Hippocrates Seduced" by Patrick Beaman in Touchstone...

Beeman provides part of a common translation of the Hippocratic Oath: "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."

Beeman then notes the need for clarification on what constitutes mischief before quoting another part of the oath: "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion." Thus, the original oath forbids both involvement in euthanasia and abortion.

Beeman observes that few medical schools require students to swear this oath at graduation. As of 1993, all schools prescribed an oath-- but with "updated" language. Only 14% prohibit involvement with euthanasia and only 8% with abortion.


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