Medical oath and the notion of human dignity.


  • J Boléo-Tomé Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Universidade de Lisboa [corrected].



Considering the recent commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Proclamation of Human Rights, the author attempts to establish a parallel between the notion of human dignity as we read in the Hippocratic Oath, and the prevailing concept within the societies that either preceded, were contemporary or succeeded it. With that goal in mind, three ancient civilizations are focussed--Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece--showing the differences in behaviour towards the human being, far different from the perspective of the Oath. The new view of human dignity and its due respect, in any circumstance, was only completely understood with the appearance and acceptance of Christianity. The author then draws attention to what may be viewed as the main feature of this century, as it approaches its end: the urge to lead the international community to accept, in a clear way, what Hippocrates defined in Medicine--the dignity of the human person, regardless of race, religion, sex or social class.


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How to Cite

Boléo-Tomé J. Medical oath and the notion of human dignity. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2000 Jun. 30 [cited 2024 Apr. 25];13(3):129-42. Available from:



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