AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
I WILL PRACTICE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
I WILL FOSTER the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession;
I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honor.
Many of us recited some version of these words of the Hippocratic Oath upon entering the profession of medicine. When I read the copy hanging on my office wall, I am reminded of the awesome commitment we all make, and of the profound trust that is placed in us. Medical education and training are not a pathway to status and wealth; they are a covenant obliging us to serve our fellow beings. Not many physicians can live up to the example set by our colleagues in Doctors Without Borders. But in everything we do, whether in direct practice, or doing research, or in administering the health care system, we need to ask whether we are living up to this oath. Did I respect the autonomy and dignity of those who seek my help? Did I treat them with compassion and authenticity? Did I consider the health and well-being of patients first and foremost? It would be easy to feel daunted, but instead I feel grateful – grateful for the privilege of being able to serve, and for the honor of being part of a community of individuals who share that call to service.