Physicians: The Noble Profession Often Isn’t


“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not,’ nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.

Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter.

May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”

(The Hippocratic Oath)

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What do you suppose Hippocrates would think of this?

Thousands of Doctors Practicing Despite Errors, Misconduct

Thousands of doctors are able to continue practicing despite records of serious misconduct that puts patients at risk. Many of those doctors have had their clinical privileges restricted or taken away by hospitals, HMOs and other health care institutions, but their state medical boards have taken no action against their licenses to practice.”

(USA Today Investigative Report last summer)

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One thought on “Physicians: The Noble Profession Often Isn’t

  1. Ron says:

    As a young pharmacist a long time ago, I went into hospital practice thinking physicians were special people. A year later I wondered how the profession had attracted so many dysfunctional people with personality disorders.

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