Oaths and Creeds by Elite Groups

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Elite groups and associations have developed creeds or oaths throughout history. Doctors, lawyers, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and knights all aspire to hold to their directives. These oaths outline a set of values, and a code of conduct by which the group’s initiates are expected to hold. The oaths taken by these warrior classes are important for trust between members that, in grave circumstances, a behavior in accordance with high standards is to be expected. On a different professional level, a lawyer’s or doctor’s oath is to the people they serve. These oaths serve to instill confidence in the professional-to-patient relationship by establishing a standard of professional accountability within their respective fields. The Hippocratic Oath is purported to be a foundation for ethics and the practice of medicine. Though it exists in different versions, depending on the institution, the general themes and function remain the same (Markel). Any oath taken is meant to elevate the level of expectations for services rendered. In practice, however, especially in cases of medical oaths, it appears that the oaths are ceremonial and apparently obsolete. A survey conducted in 2012 noted that very few physicians had better than a rudimentary knowledge of the content of The Hippocratic Oath (Jhala and Jhala 279). If the Hippocratic Oath or any oath is intended to be the moral and ethical compass for physicians, it should be taken with an enforceable level of accountability and
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