Beloved Physician Saint Luke and the Hippocratic Oath
Today the Church celebrates the life and writing of one very important physician, Saint Luke. The only gentile to write a gospel he also wrote about the deeds of Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts. Paul referred to him as the "beloved physician." I feel honored to be a part of a profession that goes back to the days even before Christ walked the earth. Yet, I feel saddened at the departure many physicians have made from their original Hippocratic Oath. Most folks don't know this but the original oath prohibited physicians from giving an abortifacient as well as any drug to end life!
"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."
Saint Luke probably took the original oath in order to practice his art and I also took this oath. Though in 1985, at my state medical school, the oath I swore was barely recognizeable as the Hippocratic Oath, since they removed all references to abortion and euthanasia.
Let's ask Saint Luke on his feast day, to ask God for the grace for physicians to return to the original oath that was life affirming and completely in accord with the Gospel of Life.
St Luke, I ask you to speak to God on my behalf for the grace and strength to practice my art in "purity and holiness." So God will be glorified and someday I will hear the Lord call me a beloved physician.