Journal of IiME Volume 1 Issue 2 www.investinme.org Attitudes of Mental Health Practitioners to the Hippocratic Oath Psychiatry has been one of the major areas of contention from the ME community regarding why and how it is implicated in the treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis. A research paper on how the Hippocratic Oath and psychiatry are perceived to co-exist was made by Dr. Marek Marzanski and colleagues from the Coventry PCT. We asked Dr. Marzanski for permission to republish this paper and he happily agreed. Our intention was to publish the paper in full here. However, the Royal College of Psychiatrists refused to give permission for publication in our Journal – but were happy for us to describe briefly the article and redirect to their site for the content (see link below). Dr. Marzanki’s research “Attitudes of mental health practitioners to the Hippocratic Oath: tradition and modernity in psychiatry” was carried out in 2004 to determine whether psychiatrists believe that medicine should be practised according to the principles of the Hippocratic Oath. Via an anonymous postal questionnaire a survey was carried out at a mental health unit in Coventry. A modern version of the Hippocratic Oath is shown in summarised form on the right. Those psychiatrists taking part in the survey ranged from junior doctors to consultants with an age from late twenties to over 70. Eighty percent were male. The results showed over 80% of the psychiatrists believed that medicine should be practised according to the Hippocratic Oath. However, the results showed that support for different statements derived from the Oath to be at a considerable variation. The questions ranged from treatment of teachers and other colleagues, the welfare of patients and the psychiatrist’s attitudes toward the patient. As Dr. Marzanski points out “Articulated in a contemporary form, Hippocratic values such as avoiding harm, acting in the best interest of the patient, compassion, integrity, honesty and respect for human life maintain their relevance and prove that goodness in medical practice does remain continuous across the ages.” The survey suggested to the author that the majority of psychiatrists agreed that medicine should be practised in accordance with the principles of the Hippocratic Oath – although the small survey might not be representative of UK psychiatrists in general. It would be an interesting study to assess the answers from Dr. Marzanski’s studies when directed toward psychiatrists who are involved in dealing with ME patients on a regular basis. Dr. Marzanski’s research paper can be found at this address – http://pb.rcpsych.org/cgi/reprint/30/9/327 Invest in ME Charity Nr 1114035 The Hippocratic Oath (A Modern Version) I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation. To reckon all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient. I will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life. With purity, holiness and beneficence I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient. Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot. Page 68/72

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