I swear by Apollo, Aesculapius the Physician, Hygieia and Panacea
with all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my hughest
ability and best judgement, I will keep this contractual Oath:
him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in
life with him, and to serve him as son serves father;
to look upon his
offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they
shall wish to learn it, without fee;
that by every mode of instruction
I will impart a knowledge of this art to my own sons and to students having
sworn this Oath to the law of medicine.
I will use dietary regimens
which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement,
and I will do no harm or injustice to them.
I will not give a lethal
drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I
will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.
In purity and
according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art.
I will not
use the knife, even upon those suffering from stones.
I practice my art
for the benefit of the sick, avoiding any voluntary act of impropriety or
corruption, including the seduction of women or men.
Whatever I see or
hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my practice or not
I will keep secret considering them as private.
As I maintain this Oath
faithfully practicing of my art may it be granted to me to partake of life
fully by gaining the respect of all men for all time.
transgress this Oath and violate it, may the opposite be my fate.
~ The Healing of the Celts ~ Unlike the Greek and Roman ways of dealing
with the sick or feeble (usually killing the person because such illnesses were
said to caused by Demons), Irish Law stipulated that the best possible care was
to be provided to the sick, injured, feeble or elderly. Physicians were held
accountable for their actions. One triad from Bretha Nemed toisech states that
physicians must provide "a painless examination, a complete cure and no
blemish". No scarring, no pain and a complete cure? Pretty hefty standards that
most doctors today would be in trouble for! Naturally, this is impossible, but
this triad was one that Irish physicians strove for (but was not necessarily
the law). The Greeks strove to "do no harm"
the Irish went all the way to
"leave no scar"! A physician who caused a patient's illness or injury to get
worse through negligence or lack of skill was held accountable by laws very
similar to our own malpractice laws. A negligent or unskilled physician who
caused harm would be required to pay hefty fines based on the nature of the
damage, plus the patient's status in society. Soap was invented by the Celts
and hand washing/cleanliness were a must in Celtic hospitals and healing
places. Something we would not see again until the 19th and 20th century.
Sabbaticals were allowed and each locality was required to make allowances for
the local physician to take time off to learn new skills without the bother of
having to deal with patients during that time. They wanted their physicians to
be adequately trained in the most ideal of conditions, it would seem. This is
not unlike a specialist today who takes a year sabbatical to upgrade his/her
skills. Physicians also had to take up to four students, who would follow the
senior physician around and learn on the job, much like the gaggle of residents
one can often see accompanying senior physicians at teaching hospitals today.
The students gained the on the job wisdom, while the physician and the patients
had the security of having four other people scrutinizing his or her work to
ensure harm was not being done. Healing baths and spas were also said to have
been used by Celtic physicians. Steam baths or sweat houses were used to help
with diseases such as Rheumatism and arthritis. There are also tales told of
Druids using sweathouses to receive visions. Most likely, these were mostly
used for treating rheumatoid disorders. Dian Cecht was considered the Physician
of the Tuatha De Dannann . Dian Cecht taught there were 13 doors to the soul in
the human body. From a spiritual standpoint, these could be seen as areas that
could give a spiritual healer access to damaged or injured parts of the soul.
They could also be exit points for the soul at the time of death
entry points at the tim
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