What is the Hippocratic Oath?
The Hippocratic Oath is named after the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. He is widely considered to be its author, although its true origins are uncertain; it may have been written by one of his students or by more than one person. It represents a time-honored guideline for physicians and other healthcare professionals as they begin or end their training. By swearing to follow the principles spelled out in the oath, healthcare professionals promise to behave honestly and ethically.
Those taking the “original” Hippocratic Oath promise to:
- respect and support their teachers
- share medical knowledge with others who are interested
- use their knowledge of medicine and diet to help patients
- avoid harming patients, including providing no “deadly medicine” even if requested to do so
- not provide a “remedy” that causes an abortion
- seek help from other physicians (such as a surgeon) when necessary
- avoid “mischief,” “injustice,” and “sexual relations” during visits to patients’ homes
- keep patient information confidential.