The Hippocratic Oath, By Atul Gawande

1344 Words6 Pages
Medicine is a science of healing, but also an art. It takes intelligence in the sciences as well as precise skill in the art of medicine to heal successfully. In the Hippocratic Oath, Hippocrates highlights the importance of passing on the tradition of practicing medicine, maintaining respect for patients, and preserving humility within themselves. Modern day practice of this oath involve patient’s stories. Rita Charon in her article “What to do with Stories? The sciences of Narrative Medicine,” explores narrative writing and how to use it as a tool in healing patients. While Charon focuses on the writing of these stories, Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal reflects on how to make more meaningful endings out of the stories of patients who…show more content…
After ensuring the preservation of medicinal practices and knowledge, the consequences of it are realized through guiding ideas. The Hippocratic Oath affirms, “I will keep [my patients] from harm and injustice.” Doctors swear by contributing to the wellbeing of patients, ignoring the various personal effects of ego, sexual interest and human tendency to gossip. Doctors must be able to admit to inability in order to make sound judgements. This would mean diagnosis to the best of their ability, and nothing beyond their ability: “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment" (Hippocrates). The oath calls on doctors not to abuse their societal power or fall prey to their desires: “I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations" (Hippocrates). The oath further protects the patient’s emotional wellbeing by restricting the doctor from disclosing details surrounding the patient’s physical condition. The oath makes clear, “What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about" (Hippocrates). With the words “In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art"
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