Definition: An oath is a solemn appeal to God to witness to the truth of a statement or the sacredness of a promise.
When students graduate from medical school, they take the Hippocratic Oath in memory of the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, who lived circa 460-377 BC. The Hippocratic Oath states,
I do solemnly swear by that which I hold most sacred:
That I will be loyal to the profession of medicine and just and generous to its members.
That I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor;
That whatever house I shall enter, it shall be for the good of the sick to the utmost of my power;
That I will hold myself aloof from wrong;
That I will exercise my art solely for the cure of my patients, and will give no drug and perform no operation for a wrongful purpose;
That whatsoever I shall see or hear of the lives of men and women that should not be spoken, I will keep secret;
These I do promise, and proportion as I am faithful to this my oath may happiness and good repute be ever mine.
If all physicians truly adhered to this oath, I believe that no one living, just born or not yet born would have to worry about the quality of medical care. However, that is not the case. Just look around you and observe the suffering that exists due to poor medical care. It seems that the sacredness of this oath is wanting. Those who are in government have a responsibility to set fourth rules and regulations to guarantee that everyone can receive adequate medical care.
Those who choose to govern often are required to place their hand on the bible and take an oath to serve the people they represent. I suggest that they be mindful of the advice offered by King Solomon in the 10th century, which is found in the Book of Proverbs 27: 23-24:
Riches can disappear fast. And the king’s crown doesn’t stay in his family forever, so watch your business interests closely. Know the state of your flocks and your herds; then there will be lambs’ wool enough for clothing and goats’ milk enough for food for all of your household after the hay is harvested, and the new crop appears, and the mountain grasses are gathered in.
Here’s another good piece of advice, from Proverbs 28:1-28:
The wicked flee when no one is chasing them but the godly are bold as lions! When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily; but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability. When a poor man oppresses those even poorer, he is like an unexpected flood sweeping away their last hope. To complain about the law is to praise wickedness. To obey the law is to fight evil. Evil men don’t understand the importance of justice, but those who follow the Lord are much concerned about it. Better to be poor and honest than rich and a cheater. Income from exploiting the poor will end up in the hands of someone who pities them. God doesn’t listen to the prayers of men who flout the law. Rich men are conceited but their real poverty is evident to the poor. When the godly are successful, everyone is glad. When the wicked succeed, everyone is sad. A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But, if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Blessed is the man who reveres God, but the man who doesn’t care is headed for serious trouble. A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a lion or bear attacking them. Only a stupid prince will oppress his people, but a king will have a long reign if he hates dishonesty and bribes. Good men will be rescued from harm, but cheaters will be destroyed. Hard work brings prosperity; playing around brings poverty. The man who wants to do right will get a rich reward. But the man who wants to get rich quick will quickly fail. Giving preferred treatment to rich people is a clear case of selling one’s soul for a piece of bread. Trying to get rich quick is evil and leads to poverty. Greed causes fighting; trusting God leads to prosperity. If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied! But a curse upon those who close their eyes to poverty. When the wicked prosper, good men go away; when the wicked meet disaster, good men return.
Both physicians and those who make laws are responsible for the well being of those they serve.
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