A Modern Hippocratic Oath


On Saturday, more than 200 students at Tufts Medical School were welcomed into the medical profession during the annual White Coat Ceremony. The Class of 2016 came together at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston to receive their white coats and then celebrated at a reception at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

Common Health, a WBUR blog, wrote about the ceremony and also about the Hippocratic Oath that all medical doctors take. Although many people know of this oath, most don’t know that the modern version has a Tufts connection. The modern oath was written in 1964 by Dr. Louis Lasagna, who later became Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. This updated oath emphasizes a “holistic and compassionate approach to medicine” and has been adopted by many medical schools.

Take a look at these excerpts from the old and new oaths (from the Common Health blog):

Hippocrates:

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant.

Modern version by Dr. Louis Lasagna:

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

Congratulations to the newest Tufts medical students on receiving their white coats!

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