Since MD2 happened to chuck in a piece from the Hippocratic Oath into his prose last week, I’d thought it would be a good idea this week to present you with the whole picture. Below is the whole oath, and as a newly qualified doctor I swore on a modified oath at graduation which is more pertinent to current times!
Thirteen years as a practising physician, I still work by this ethos. The principals of the physician’s oath has formed the backbone of modern day medical ethics, namely, respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.
- Autonomy – patients right to choose or refuse treatment
- Beneficence – the physician should act in the best interests of the patient
- Non-maleficence – “first, do no harm”
- Justice – fairness and equality; concerns the distribution of healthcare resources
Unlike the rest of the world, the current National Health Service (NHS) system makes it easy to practice these principles – in particular the last point believe it or not. Recently, a patient from the States pointed this out to me. Whether, or more accurately, how long this will last is the $64,000 question.
Just to put this into perspective is a snap shot of the British Medical Association’s (BMA’s) discussion points from this week:
“Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK“