Filed under: Medical/Bioethical Issues
Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath written about 400 years before Christ by the “father of modern medicine” Hippocrates? Are the modern replacement oaths more hypocritical than Hippocratic? You be the judge.
Admittedly, translations of Greek from 2400 years ago can offer legitimate variances, but overall various translations seem quite uniform. Below is a standard translation of one of the key tenets of the original Hippocratic Oath followed by a modern version of the corresponding section in a new oath written by Louis Lasagna in 1964:
“I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion.”
“Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to 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 God.”
It seems quite clear that Lasagna is radically departing from the Hippocratic tradition along the lines of “situation ethics” and relativism. Using the Hippocratic wording as our starting point and relying upon the misguided spirit of Lasagna, below is a new Hypocritical Oath for those doctors devoted to ethical hypocrisy:
“I will give no deadly medicine to anyone unless asked by that person, or a relative, legal guardian or state authority. I am free of course to exercise my freedom of speech and may counsel the use of deadly medicines whenever I think it is a good idea. Furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion unless she asks, in which case, I will happily do so or give her a referral to an expert abortionist.”
God save us from the hypocrisy of modern medicine which views an unborn baby as a patient if the mother so directs or as a parasite if that is her “choice”.
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