Hippocrates and/or Hypocrites

There is a delicate and meandering boundary between practicing medicine for the patient and practicing medicine for the profit.

An interpretation of the Hippocratic oath,

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation—to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this Art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!

This has essentially grown into the ‘ethics of medicine’, and it is a delicate matter. It is one of the remedies in the physician’s arsenal of curatives. Trust. It is the most powerful tool he has – it is the vehicle for administration of any curative and a bolster for the patient’s own immune system, even quasi-sympathetically.

As a naïve tween and the son of a physician, thinking it noble, I took a version of ‘the Oath’ when I was about 12, I can’t remember the exact wording, but I do recall the solemnity with which I viewed the implied meaning of ‘NO MEDICINE for PROFIT’ and ‘sharing the wealth of knowledge’, but I have found it’s practice without specific credentials, presumed naivete and quickly mistrusted or abused. We all ‘Live and Learn’.