March 30, 2011

A personal Hippocratic Oath

Today was the last day of the Healer's Art course at school--as a closing exercise, they asked us to think of four clauses of an oath that we envisioned as an embodiment of ourselves as physicians.  Here's mine:

This I ask of all that is holy, now as I look to my future in medicine:
May I see my patients as beings endowed with a spark of the divine, each with their own story to tell.
Help me to honor the autonomy of my patients, so that their treatment is their will and not mine.
Grant me the ability to care for myself as much as my patients, so that my spirit is renewed daily.
May I do all I can to lessen suffering in this world, no matter how small the affliction or how deep the pain.
This do I ask and this do I pledge to do, with solemnity of purpose and strength of will, so that I extend by one more link the chain of physicians from before history into the future.

I'm not sure where the second clause came from.  I wrote it and it felt right, but I don't remember a time when it felt like the doctor was infringing on a patient's autonomy.  Maybe I'm afraid I will take too from my own world view and impose it on my patients?  I'm just not sure.  I like that it's in there, though.

I think the best part was at the end, everyone read their oaths or a portion of them aloud.  Each person's little bits and pieces made me think, "Oh! I should have put that in mine!"

1 comment:

Marshall S said...

I'd take that oath.
I like the autonomy part. I'm surprised you have a hard time coming up with examples: I feel practically assaulted by issues of autonomy and education every time I walk into a clinic.