A CALL TO REVISE THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH.
The Hippocratic Oath ultimately leads to Physician overwork, neglect of family, ignoring of social and spiritual life, burnout, depression and physician suicides!
An extract from an article in a medical journal reads:
"Burnout among physicians is rampant. One-third to one-half of practicing physicians meet the criteria for burnout, and in a large study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, 53% of medical students showed signs of burnout.In addition, 300 to 400 physicians commit suicide eachyear, which is higher than the rate in the general population.Suicide rates are related to the high rates of depression seenin physicians, which might be linked to burnout. Some physicians contend that the seeds of burnout are sown when they raise their right hands during their white-coat ceremonies and take the Hippocratic Oath, solemnly swearing to put the needs of theirpatients above all else.And many contend that if physicians are putting patients' needs first, to the detriment of their own health, they are misinterpreting and misreading the oath".
"Joseph Freund, MD, from Des Moines, Iowa, who attended the Congress, shared his experience with burnout 25 years earlier, which he ascribed to his efforts to put patients first.He was forced to take a 6-month leave of absence to recover."I put the patient above everything else and gave everything else, and there wasn't anything left of me but a shell," Dr Freund testified."I had no identity outside of being a physician. It was after taking some time off that I realized I needed to spend time on myself as well."Leaving this dangerous phrase in the new oath will not allow us "to protect ourselves,"Dr Freund continued. "I proudly trumpet how wonderful family docs are when I speak to groups and to students. But until that oath is changed, I cannot take that oath and be true to myself."The resolution passed. The problematic phrase—"to provide comprehensive care to my patients, placing their welfare above all else"—will be changed to read, "to provide comprehensive care to my patients," and the clause requiring physicians to place"their welfare above all else" will be dropped.Do words have the power to influence people to do things against their will? When the words are part of a solemn oath, perhaps they do. For some physicians, the Hippocratic Oath embodies an ideal of ethical behavior that is impossible to meet, yet they are compelled to try, regardless of how self-destructive it is, because they sincerely vowed to do so."Doctors are not burned out; they are just abused," a cardiologist wrote to Medscape."Of course you have to serve patients, but to do this, you have to serve yourself first! The Hippocratic Oath is history. We all have to know what it says. But at the same time, we must accept that the world today is quite different from the one that existed 2500 years ago, when the oath was written."