One of the oldest professional oaths is the Hippocratic Oath, which is now as old as 2400 years old.
The practice pledging this oath begans at the University of Wittenberg in Germany in 1508.
The contents of the oath are still relevant, although pledging in the name of long forgotten medieval Greek gods is probably what makes it out-dated.
A new modern version of the oath, known as ‘The Physician’s Pledge’, encapsulates the essence of the Oath while removing the peripheries has been published in JAMA (click here).
The full text of the 2017 pledge now reads as:
AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.
A very interesting addition to the oath compared to Hippocratic Oath is this:
This addition has been lobbied by Dr. Sam Hazledine.I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard”
To quote MIMS.com,
Dr Sam Hazledine from Queenstown, New Zealand made history by petitioning for the amendment last year, where he obtained 4,500 signatures to include a clause for doctors to focus on their own health as well as of their patients.
I guess it is a solemn reminder that physicians should do what they preach.