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The all-new Hippocratic Oath

24-12-2012 22

By Simon Davies

I was leafing through a copy of my 1996 book “Big Brother” (now sadly remaindered) and noticed my rewording of the Hippocratic oath. I thought you might enjoy it, seeing as there are currently so many attacks on medical confidentiality:

or in any situation where a regulation, ordinance, by-law, subpoena, or Statutory Instrument requires surrender

The Hippocratic Oath is the ancient charter that defends medical confidentiality, but over the years it has been subjected to a series of “public interest” tests that effectively turn doctors in many countries into state informants. One wonders where it will all end.

“I swear by Apollo, the physician… Whatever I see or hear in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret EXCEPT in such circumstances as required by law, or where there is an overriding public duty to disclose, or where I am compelled to do so to a third party, or where there is a demand from others claiming a right to know the information, or where there is an exemption from the Data Protection Principles, or where there is a purported national security interest, or where the information is owned by the Crown, or where precedent demands disclosure, or in any situation where a regulation, ordinance, by-law, subpoena, or Statutory Instrument requires surrender of personal information, or in whatever circumstance the Government deems disclosure necessary or desirable.”