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Thursday, March 3, 2011

a promise

I have this idea, that at birth, the Hippocratic Oath (changed for obvious reasons-) should be read by the new parents and whispered into the child's ear. Later, when the child is old enough to comprehend the words fully the child must read it aloud and sign the document as a contract.  Maybe then the world would be a better place- maybe we would all be little kinder and a little less judgmental:

I've tweaked this as best I could- any underline/small print should be a strike through- or a word removed from the original document and bold italics are what could be promised/vowed/spoken/believed/breathed/passed forward:

I, (state your name), swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians my parents and ancestors in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick,sad, sick, and broken all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment overindulgence and therapeutic familial nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to life(medicine as well as science), and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh all other remedies the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my family colleagues when the skills of another are needed. for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my blood/clan/house patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power, words and actions to damage take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not love a stockbroker, drug addict, or  yogi,  treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a  sick human being, whose illness may life affects the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes all these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick my family.

I will prevent disparity disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the lost and broken infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of  loving.healing those whoseek my help.

I will start today. 
I will make this promise and whisper it into the ear of my nearly 4 year old. 
I will sit quietly, close my eyes and will this promise to my estranged mother, sister, and brother. I will make this promise, silently to the 24 year old daughter I adore who no longer speaks to me. 
I will inhale deeply and on an exhale I will imagine this promise this covenant floating on wings and gliding gently, finally settling into the hearts of my father, my step-mother, my beautiful grown sons, my dear sweet  friends and my miraculous lover.
I promise to live more kindly, more accutely aware that we are all fragile and we are all struggling to make our way.

Will you promise to try tomorrow?

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