Hippocrates

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Hippocrates

Hippocrates was a Greek doctor. He was probably born in 460 BC, and died in 377 BC.

Hippocrates is called the "father of medicine". He was the first person to write that people got sick for scientific reasons. People used to believe disease was caused by angry (mad) gods.

Hippocrates wrote about treating sick people. His writings are still important to doctors today. He said many ideas that doctors still study. An idea he wrote about is "patient confidentiality". This means that doctors cannot tell anyone else what their patients tell them. Another idea is that the doctor cannot do anything to kill a patient. These kinds of ideas are part of medical ethics.

The Hippocratic Oath is named after him. This is a promise or oath doctors say. This means they say they will do what is said in the Hippocratic Oath. (People now think that Hippocrates did not write it.)

Most medical schools today use a new version. This means that some things are changed. But the important ideas are the same.

This is an example of a modern Hippocratic Oath. This is used today at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

I do solemnly swear by all I hold most sacred:

  • that I will be loyal to the profession of medicine and just to its members
  • that I will lead my life and practice my art with virtue and honor
  • that into whatsoever home I shall enter it shall be for the good of the sick and the well by the utmost of my power and that I will hold myself aloof from wrong and from corruption and from the tempting of others to vice
  • that I will exercise my art solely for the benefit of my patients, the relief of suffering, the prevention of disease and promotion of health, and I will give no drug and perform no act for an immoral purpose
  • that in the treatment of the sick, I will consider their well-being to be of a greater importance than their ability to compensate my services
  • that what I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside the treatment in regard to the lives of persons which is not fitting to be spoken, I will keep inviolably secret
  • that I will commit myself to a lifetime of continued learning of the art and science of medicine
  • these things I do promise and in proportion as I am faithful to this oath, may happiness and good repute be ever mine, but should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot.