Medical school creates new oath

May 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM
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SYRACUSE, N.Y., May 11 (UPI) -- A new physician's oath will be recited this year by graduating medical students at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y.

The medical school says the oath borrows from the writings of the Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States, and replaces a version of the Hippocratic Oath that was recited at commencement since the early 1990s.

Blackwell earned her medical degree in 1849 from Geneva Medical College, the forerunner of SUNY Upstate, the school said Friday in a news release.

Dr. Kathy Faber-Langendoen and other faculty found the previous oath's archaic and often ambiguous language an impediment to being understood by students.

The medical school said concepts in the new oath that derive from Blackwell's writings include the importance of preventive medicine and the need for collaboration between women and men in the medical profession.

The new oath retains some elements of the Hippocratic Oath, written about 400 BC, and a widely accepted revision penned by Tufts University medical school administrator Larry Lasagna in 1964, as well as the Prayer of Maimonides, a Jewish physician from the 12th century.

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