What comes in mind when the term oath is mentioned? Conservatives would immediately relate the term to what is sacred that a society is bond to at all times. Today, oath of office is practiced as an affirmation of a commitment to serve within the expectation of a particular office. Nonetheless, oaths have always been associated with various communities thus dates back to the centuries before Christ. The Hippocratic Oath for instance, has been considered among the oldest oaths in history that is associated with the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. Hippocrates has often been identified as the father of medicine and the oath has been identified as one of his greatest achievement in the field of medicine. The oath commence by swearing to the gods of healing followed by the commitment of the doctor to protect the life of the patient at all time. For centuries, physicians and graduating medical students in various universities and other relevant institutions around the world partook the oath. However, the oath has been of debate in the 21st century and its relevance to modern medicine questioned. This essay delves on whether the Hippocratic Oath should be preserved I the 21st century. The essay points out what needs to be changed and be preserved in relation to the 21st century and identify the reason why that needs to be done.
The Hippocrates Oath need to be preserved in the 21st century and observed as much as it has been in the ancient history of medicine. The oath is very important in addressing harm and injustice in one of the statement that follows:
I will do no harm or injustice to them (Miles 34).
Prevention of both personal and social injustices is thus a major concern that is bestowed on the Hippocrates Oath. Nonetheless, some medical practitioners have been swayed by the financial or personal interest at the expense of social injustices that may be committed. It is only through the Oath that such malpractices can be admonished in the 21st century considering the rising cases of corruption reported from various parts of the world. Additionally, the Oath forbids euthanasia as it states in one of the lines: I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked (Hagop 1). This has been in agreement with the religious belief held by a majority today for instance the Catholic Faith condemns euthanasia of any kind. The oath should therefore be preserved and observed in Medicine and by physicians for its moral stance.
Regardless of the view that the Oath needs to be preserved, certain clauses need to be revised owing to the complexity of medicine in the 21st century. The ancient Oath as it is fails to encompass current values. The Oath begins by swearing by the name of Greek Gods thus its worth questioning whether it would still be relevant today to use the name of Allah, the Christian Lord, Buddha or the Jewish God among others. The dilemma has resulted into a number of proposals that include introducing a replacement by what a personal holds most sacred. Also, the statement I will not use the knife (Hagop 2), elicits more reactions and should be redefined in accordance with the interest of those who practice surgery.
To conclude, the issues raised in this essay elicit important concerns about the Hippocrates Oath. The essay has upheld the view that the Hippocrates Oath need to be preserved and observed in the 21st century for addressing harm and injustice and the issue of euthanasia. On the contrary, certain clause needs to be changes so that it addresses the complexity of medicine in the 21st century on matters to do with surgery and the dilemma about the Greek god at the beginning of the Oath.
Hagop, Kantarjian. Deciphering the Hippocratic Oath in the 21st Century. 2014.
Miles, Steven H. The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Internet resource.
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