The horror the typhoon
Hajan has left behind on the Philippines, the cries of the people, their
faces, the first shots taken by TV photographers have not left me for days.
Nature has again shown us clearly the weak position we are in. For days people
were in desperate need of immediate help and from all corners of the world help
was organized, among it human help by MSF, Médecins sans frontiers, Ärzte ohne
Grenzen, Doctors without borders. In an
unbelievably short time doctors were on the spot, ready to face human misery.
This organisation is a French secular humanitarian organization, Nobel prize
laureate, best known for its projects in war torn and disaster struck countries.
Médecins Sans Frontières was created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and
journalists who believed that all people have the right to medical care
regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. Many young doctors around the globe have
joined this organisation to help people following the deeper meaning of the
Socratic oath they have done when graduating.
you know the ancient oath? Very
I swear by Apollo the
Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods, and goddesses,
making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and
judgment this oath and this covenant:
To hold him who has taught me
this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him,
and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his
offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art –
if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of
precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the
sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant
and have taken the oath according to medical law, but to no one else.
I will apply dietic measures
for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep
them from harm and injustice.
I will neither give a deadly
drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.
In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.
I will not use the knife, not
even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are
engaged in this work.
Whatever houses I may visit, I
will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional
injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both
female and male persons, be they free or slaves.
What I may see or hear in the
course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of
men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep myself holding
such things shameful to be spoken about.
If I fulfill this oath and do
not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honoured
with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear
falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
The profession of medicine demands of the student who
decides to serve society by his art to keep the profession and his life ‘pure
and holy’, although I doubt that many are keeping that up, and there is the one
or the other student who may think that in this profession you may get rich and
famous…. The modern oath of today is in
its basic meaning still based on the ancient one.
The first mediciners in the history of mankind were
the medicine men or women, shamans, people who lived secluded away from society,
spiritual people asking for the advice of the ancestor spirits when approached
by the sick. The mystic power of nature, that is what the medicine in those
days was based on. In the Middle Ages that often led to be burnt as witches
because the church did not want any other power to exist than theirs. The Dark
Medicine of ancient cultures have become famous and
spoken of until today; some of them are still being used and more and more
sought and followed by the conscious people such as the Chinese Medicine, the
Ayurvedic medicine from India and many more.
Egyptian Imhotep (3rd millennium BC) is the first
physician in history known by name. Hippocrates is called the "father of
medicine" who laid down the foundation for a scientific approach to
There are many doctors who have
dedicated their life for research and the care of the sick and due to their
work diseases such as the Plague could be eliminated; but others have come up
caused by the irresponsible behaviour of us humans, and the medical researchers
can hardly keep up with the speed of new disease developments.
Also in Cyprus , there are many doctors
known for their work and engagement for society and health; in the years of war they have done more than
their duty and of whom I have heard many people say: without them we would not
Many diseases still existing in last
century were researched and eliminated by local medical doctors with an
enormous input of personal engagement, be it thalassemia or malaria or
tuberculosis. Now, in our days, heart problems and cancer have a tight grip on
Cypriot people, most probably also caused by negligence and irresponsibility,
they are researching the cause now.
As a conclusion of my thoughts about the
medical profession I would say that the main occupation of doctors is to follow
up the errors of human mankind, to heal the results of stupidity and ignorance.
We know that we shouldn’t do things but we do them, yes, don’t you think so? The
doctors, a sort of synanthropic species?