ABSTRACT

The Hippocratic Oath is taken by physicians who promise to practice medicine to high ethical and professional standards. Physicians who take the oath also promise to respect those who have taught them medicine and to pass medical education on to the sons of their instructors, to their own sons and to others who have taken the oath. The oath also emphasises the importance of safe practice: ‘I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone’. In taking the oath, physicians promise not to encroach onto the specialist domains of other practitioners such as surgeons. Physicians also promise to maintain confidentiality and not to mislead patients or take advantage of them. Ironically although the oath is inextricably linked to his name, it is not certain that Hippocrates actually wrote it. It may have originated after his death.