About the Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is traditionally administered to the young physician upon entering the profession. Although usually attributed to Hippocrates, it is probably an ancient Roman oath.
Hippocrates, the Greek physician called the Father of Medicine, lived from about 460 B.C. to 377 B.C. He placed medicine on a scientific foundation, freeing it from superstition, philosophy and religious rites, gave sound and shrewd descriptions of many diseases and raised the ethical standards of medical practice. His physiology, pathology and therapeutics were based largely on the doctrines of his predecessors.
Bulger, R. A dialogue with Hippocrates and Griff T. Ross, M.D. In Bulger R, ed. In Search of the Modern Hippocrates. Iowa City: University of Iowa City Press; 1987:253.
By all that I hold highest, I promise my patients competence, integrity, candor, personal commitment to their best interest, compassion, and absolute discretion, and confidentiality within the law.
I shall do by my patients as I would be done by; shall obtain consultation whenever I or they desire; shall include them to the extent they wish in all important decisions; and shall minimize suffering whenever a cure cannot be obtained, understanding that a dignified death is an important goal in everyone’s life.
I shall try to establish a friendly relationship with my patients and shall accept each one in a nonjudgmental manner, appreciating the validity and worth of different value systems and according to each person a full measure of human dignity.
I shall charge only for my professional services and shall not profit financially in any other way as a result of the advice and care I render my patients.
I shall provide advice and encouragement for my patients in their efforts to sustain their own health.
I shall work with my profession to improve the quality of medical care and to improve the public health, but I shall not let any lesser public or professional consideration interfere with my primary commitment to provide the best and most appropriate care available to each of my patients.
To the extent that I live by these precepts, I shall be a worthy physician.