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by Archaeology Newsroom

Deontology, Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine in Works of the Hippocratic Collection

In all the collected writings of the Hippocratic Corpus can be virtually found references on the issue of ethics and deontology at both philosophical and practical level. However, three of them, The Oath, The Physician and Decorum, give to physicians specific instructions about the teaching of medicine, respect for life, protection of patients and preservation of medical integrity. Euthanasia (mercy killing) and abortion are categorically prohibited, whereas the observance of medical confidentiality is demanded. Rules are set regarding the appropriate appearance and behavior of physicians, the cultivation of character and the development of high ethics. The qualities and attributes of the Hippocratic physician include professional efficiency, continuous study and research and even practice in foreign lands, as well as deep concern for the creation of quality conditions in curing patients. Emphasis is given to the philosophical education of the physician, the importance of which is phrased in the maxim “the physicianphilosopher is equal to god”. The enduring, diachronic value of the Hippocratic code can be better appreciated through its impact on the contemporary medical practice.