08 August 2004

AM started med school this past week, and on Saturday her entering class had a "white coat ceremony." I had never heard of a white coat ceremony before, and apparently UNM has only been doing one for about 7 years. Basically, it's a ceremony where friends and family are in attendance, and the dean puts a white doctor's coat on all the entering students, and then they take the Oath of Geneva.

The Oath of What?

I had been under the impression that the Hippocratic Oath was still in play here. AM's dad speculated that the Oath of Geneva was an updated version written by lawyers. So, I did some research, and got even more confused. Apparently the Oath of Geneva was written in 1948 because the Hippocratic Oath no longer was suited to "modern conditions." You can read both the old and the new here. While this website cites Nazism as the reason for the rewrite, one cannot help but notice the prohibition on abortion and euthanasia (I had no idea the abortion part was in the original).

To make matters even more confusing, the Oath that AM made wasn't even the same Oath of Geneva that is listed here, and in fact I can't find an exact version anywhere. Some differences: AM doesn't have to consecrate her life to the service of humanity, she only has to give respect to her deserving teachers, apparently she doesn't have to keep her patients' secrets after they've died, and she has to respect human life, but there is no mention of it beginning at conception.

I wonder what other changes will need to be made 50 years hence.

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