Essay:Oath of Saint Luke

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This essay is an original work by TerryH. Please comment only on the talk page.

The Oath of Saint Luke

Saint Luke was a physician and was also the author of one of the four Gospel accounts in the Bible. Most people remember him for his authorship of this account, but few people remember him as a physician.

Many more people remember Hippocrates of Cos, the physician who wrote the famous Oath that bears his name. But most of those who remember Hippocrates, fail to grasp that modern physicians honor his Oath more in the breach than in the actual observance. Most physicians will say, if asked, that they took the Hippocratic Oath upon receiving their medical degrees. But the oath they likely took is a watered-down version of which perhaps three of Hippocrates' original six points remain.

Christian physicians looking for a mission statement would do well to swear by a different, stricter oath than the one that most medical students take on graduation. But understandably, they would not care to swear an oath that takes pagan gods (Apollo, Aesculapius, Hygaea, Panacea) as witnesses.

But alternative oaths do exist. The Christian Medical and Dental Association has proposed one. Today I propose another--in honor of Saint Luke, who, if the concept "patron saint" is at all valid, would surely qualify as the patron saint of physicians.

Text of the Proposed Oath of Saint Luke

I swear by the memory of Luke the Physician, and in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Whom I take to Witness, that I will to the best of my ability and judgment, keep, discharge, and execute the following oath and stipulation:

  1. To honor Him Who made me as the Author of Life and Architect of Creation, and to make Him Partner in my livelihood to the extent of a tenth of all my gains.
  2. I will prescribe regimen to my patients, according to the best of my ability and judgment, and will in all things touching my art never bring harm to anyone.
  3. I will give no deadly preparation to anyone, even if asked, nor suggest such a course. Neither will I give to any woman any drug or device, nor perform upon her any procedure, to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy my life and my art.
  4. I will forbear to undertake any procedure wherein I am not adequately trained, but will give place to them that are craftsmen therein.
  5. Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter for the purpose of bringing healing to the sick, and I will abstain from all wrongdoing or corruption or even the appearance of evil.
  6. And whatsoever I shall hear, either within my profession or outside of it, if it be not that which ought to be publicly disclosed, I will never divulge, holding the same to be holy secrets.

Now so long as I keep my oath inviolate, may the blessings of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit attend me in all my walks--and I pray that God keep me from any such violation.--TerryHTalk 16:28, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

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