The Asklepieion on the island of Kos.
The Asklepieion is an ancient medical center on the island of Kos, that dates from the 3rd century BC. It was built in honor of the god of health and medicine, Asklepios, following the death of the famous Greek physician, Hippocrates.
Hippocrates, usually referred to as the “Father of Medicine” is credited with the invention of many medical practices including clinical observation, prognosis, the categorization of diseases, and the theory of humours (which dominated medicine for many centuries).
He was also the creator of the famed Hippocratic Oath which originally read as follows:
– I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
– To hold him 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 the 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 no one else.
– 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 anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. 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.
– Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.
– 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.
– If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
In the modern era, rather than being discontinued, the oath has been updated in keeping with modern medical practices. There are several versions. The version we prefer, as it reflects the Work to some degree, reads as follows:
– First do no harm.
– I will respect scientific medical knowledge (no matter what its source) and share it.
– I will be genuinely considerate of the patient (and the patient’s family and close associates)
– When I do not know, I will say so. When unsure, I will seek assistance. When applying a theory, I will declare it so
– Respect for privacy is absolute. Never will I discuss what a patient says in the context of treatment or reveal the causes of a given patient’s condition.
– Prevention is better than cure.
Such an oath should in our view be taken by every variety of medical professional.
From the perspective of Self-Health, it makes sense to have a strong relationship with one or more medical professionals whom you trust. No matter how much knowledge you accumulate about health in general and your health in particular, you are likely to need the help of professionals at some time. And you can profit from honest discussions with them.
Ask them questions…