Message from the Director

 Naturally, I am a contrarian and dislike making the same statements or taking the same actions as others.

In this context, I will express my true thoughts. 

It may differ from the general opinion, but I will only write what I believe to be right myself.

Please refrain from reposting or quoting without the author's permission.




Exploring the History of Medicine, Part 43: Florence, Part 23

May 1, 2024


Uffizi Gallery

7. Hippocrates

Hippocrates (born in the 5th century BC) was a physician in ancient Greece.

He was born on the island of Kos in the Aegean Sea and studied medicine at the Asclepion Temple, where the healing god Asclepius from Greek mythology was worshipped.

Hippocrates' most important achievement was separating medicine from superstition and religion, advancing it towards a natural science that valued clinical practice and observation.

He believed that diseases arose not from the actions of gods or evil spirits but from imbalances in the four bodily fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.

He also performed advanced diagnostics and treatments such as traction for fractured arms or legs, reduction of dislocations, the use of tourniquets to stop bleeding, and auscultation of the heart and lungs.

Hippocrates traveled to various places, teaching and practicing medicine.

His complete works, which include textbooks, lecture notes, essays, and memos totaling over 70 documents, have been preserved as the "Complete Works of Hippocrates".

Although written in ancient Greek, they employ various literary styles, and it's believed that the authors include not only Hippocrates but also about twenty of his disciples.

Furthermore, the "Hippocratic Oath", which discusses the norms and ethics that physicians should uphold, has been passed down to the present day and is quoted in medical education settings.

He teaches that physicians should maintain their appearance, be experts in their field, approach patients with a calm, sincere, honest, and straightforward attitude, respect their teachers, and impart knowledge to others.

I also keep this lesson in mind.

Hippocrates conducted pioneering research on the impact of the environment (natural and political) on human health.

He also left behind the famous words, "Life is short, and the art long" (Ars longa, vita brevis).

Hippocrates' achievements were passed down to Western medicine through the ancient Roman physician Galen.

Therefore, Hippocrates is called the "Father of Medicine" and the "Medical Saint".


Here are excerpts from the "Hippocratic Oath":

1.      To Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, Panacea, and all the gods and goddesses, I swear to fulfill this oath.

(Apollo: Father of Asclepius, Hygieia: Asclepius's eldest daughter, Panacea: Asclepius's second daughter)

2.      I will use treatments for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment, but I will never use them to injure or wrong them.

3.      I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan.

4.      Similarly, I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

5.      In every house where I come, I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or men, be they free or slaves.

6.      Whatever I see or hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

7.      If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach, may the opposite befall me.


Among these, especially No. 5 seems very characteristic of ancient Greece, doesn't it?

Since becoming a doctor, I have never encountered or heard of situations such as "sexual relations during house calls".


The "Hippocratic Oath" was modernized into the "Geneva Declaration" in 1948 at the Second General Assembly of the World Medical Association.

It underwent five revisions and arrived at its current form.

Here are some excerpts:

1.      I solemnly pledge to dedicate my life to the service of humanity.

2.      The health and well-being of my patient will be my first consideration.

3.      I will maintain the utmost respect for human life.

4.      I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient.

5.      I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died.

6.      I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice.


This approach is now adopted in many countries including Japan.

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