Monday, January 23, 2006

Cornell's Big Fat Greek Shredding

Wesley J. Smith reports that Cornell Medical School has rewritten the Hippocratic Oath to remove not only the prohibitions against abortion and euthanasia, but also those barring sexual relations with patients.

Smith compares the old with the new:

Hippocrates: "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." The clear call here is active, requiring doctors never to act in a way that would take advantage of patients, with one specific example, e.g. sexual relations.

Cornell: "That into whatever house I shall enter, it shall be for the good of the sick. [Forget for the moment that most doctors don't make house calls.] That I will maintain this sacred trust, holding myself far aloof from wrong, from corrupting, from the tempting of others to vice." This is a far more passive and vague approach. What does holding oneself "aloof from wrong" mean, anyway? Indeed, what does "tempting others to vice" mean in the context of today's anything goes society?