April 24, 2024


A leading American medical school has revised the Hippocratic Oath to take account of contemporary values. Weill Cornell Medical College’s version is more inclusive and more positive, ending in an affirmation to be faithful to the honourable traditions of the profession rather than in a curse upon a doctor who does not respect the oath.

Most medical schools long ago revised the anachronistic Greek oath which invokes the god Apollo and assumes that no women work as physicians. Like oaths at other medical schools, Weill Cornell’s no longer contains explicit commitments not to have sexual relations with patients, not to carry out abortions and not to administer euthanasia — although admittedly these might be implicit in a more general commitment to “serve the highest interests of my patients”.