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  • Facts & Fiction

Hippocratic Oath

As of 1989, doctors can take their Hippocratic Oath in Welsh.

Written about 2,500 years ago this Oath is one of the most famous texts in Western medicine, yet most people (including doctors) know very little about it. Here is a quick guide to the Oath.

On the Greek island of cos a doctor, Hippocrates practised in what was in effect a teaching hospital. The Greeks were fond of theatre and well used to the format hence the word operating theatre is still with us, this is where he taught and practices medicine.  The Oath starts: "I swear by Apollo the physician and by Asclepius and Hygieia and Panacea... to bring the following oath to fulfilment." This was written about 450 years BC hence the references to anchient Greek gods. As you can imagine has been updated since. Still the promis remains and the oath is taken as seriously now as it was when first written.

Some of the disciplines he introduced were far ahead of their time and had to be re-discoverd. Hygine is a good example, he insisted everone and everything be cleaned before opperations. So after all this time, as of 1989 doctors can utter these words in another language possibly as old or even older than the original Greek, Cymraeg.