What Is the Hippocratic Oath and Who Wrote the Code of Ethics For Doctors?

Hippocrates’ contributions to medicine were not just scientific.

He wrote extensively on all aspects of medicine and his writings are included in a volume of works known as the Hippocratic Collection.

It is not known exactly which of the volumes Hippocrates wrote himself and which his followers wrote.

Included in this collection is the Hippocratic oath, a code of ethics for physicians.

Hippocrates probably did not write the oath, but it was given his name because, in ancient times, students studying in Hippocratic schools took the oath.

The Hippocratic oath is still taken today by students graduating from medical school.

Physicians who take the oath promise to help the sick, or at least to do no harm.

They promise to keep information about their patients private and to teach their science to all who want to learn. The code also prevents physicians from administering any fatal drugs, even if a patient requests them.

Many of these issues are questions the medical world still struggles with today.