A Doctor's Oath
Education

A Doctor's Oath

The promises a doctor must make and he significance of the 4 pillars of medicine

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Before being a full-fledged doctor of medicine (MD), the about-to-be inducted doctors repeat one of the most famous Greek texts, the Hippocratic oath of medicine. First penned around 400 BC, the original oath seems old-fashioned today. Luckily, medical education as a whole has integrated a newer and more modern version of the oath that removes the archaic parts such as praying to Apollo (the god of medicine and a plethora of other things) and Hygieia (a personification of health). The modern version of the oath is quite lengthy but I will insert some snippets that I find significant in meaning. It is worth noting that the classic 4 pillars of medical ethics are not written in verbatim within the Hippocratic oath.

The pillars are as follows—Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence, and finally, justice. I want to take my audience (no matter how small it may be) through what I believe these pillars to mean. Starting off with Autonomy, I believe that autonomy is the respect for the patient's right to self-determination. By this, I mean that autonomy includes a right to privacy, and thus it is the duty of a medical physician to maintain a high level of confidentiality. Alongside patient autonomy, there has been the creation of various laws that protect patient information called HIPPA. Having a HIPPA violation is a very serious accusation to a medical professional as it implies that a doctor or even nurse has breached the patients protected health information.

I personally believe that patients instill a level of trust within doctors that cannot be found within other professions. Working a noble profession, doctors must bear the weight of having and protecting patient information because we as patients have opened ourselves up and shared very personal information with these professionals that we hold in such high regard. The next pillars are beneficence and non-maleficence. I group them together because they are similar yet slightly different in their own ways.

I believe the difference between the two is this: doing something that will positively affect a patient versus doing something that negatively affects a patient. It is up to the best judgment of the medical professional to draw this air of distinction and knowing when enough is enough. The final pillar is the pillar of justice. This justice isn't specifically in regards to law and order but it is something on a less superficial level—it is the idea of equality and fairness. Being a doctor is a noble profession and thus comes with the associated responsibilities. This includes making sure that every person, regardless of their race, religion, or background is treated the same.

I very much understand that the words that I have written above seem quite monotonous and don't have much personality behind them. The reason I have chosen to write something like this is that I, myself, am trying to figure out why medicine and the sciences peak my interest. There are many components that make doctors who they are. I believe that speaking to others about my views and ideas on the subject will give me a broader understanding to the crucial topic of "Why do I want to be a doctor" or "what peaks your interest about medicine."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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