Hippocratic Oath

Hippocratic Oath (Original, C. 400 B.C.)

I swear by Apollo, the Physician, and Aesculapius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this stipulation:

To hold the one who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art — if they desire to learn it — without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but to no one else.

I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. [I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.]

I will neither give a deadly drug to any one if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Furthermore, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy [instrument to produce abortion].

In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Into whatever houses I may enter, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining clear of all voluntary injustice and of other mischief, and of sexual deeds upon bodies of females and males, be they free or slave.

Things I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of treatment regarding the life of human beings, things which one should never divulge outside, I will keep to myself holding such things unutterable.

If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and practice of the art, being respected by all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and violate this oath, may the opposite be my lot.

[Translation by Leon R. Kass, Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs, Chicago: Free Press, 1985]