Medical body to oppose proposal to replace Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath

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The medical education apex body National Medical Commission (NMC) may replace the centuries-old code of ethics for medical practitioners, Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath.

According to a document on the minutes of the NMC meeting of February 7 which has been widely circulated on social media, Charak Shapath may replace the Hippocratic Oath during the graduation ceremony of doctors.

“No Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony (with parents) the oath will be ‘Maharishi Charak Shapath’ present in NMC website,” says the document.

However, no official confirmation has been made yet on replacing the Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath from NMC. According to a source, the proposal is under consideration and the final decision is yet to be made on oath-taking.

The ‘charak shapath’ is attributed to Maharishi Charaka, who is seen as a great contributor to Ayurveda and the author of the medical treatise ‘Charaka Samhita’.

Meanwhile, the proposal has triggered a debate on the relevance of replacing the centuries-old practice.

Talking to IANS, Dr Sahajanand Prasad Singh, Indian Medical Association national president, said that “though there has not been official confirmation on this, we are going to hold a meeting on this tomorrow and will oppose the decision of replacing the centuries-old oath pattern.”

“The decision on replacing Hippocratic oath mentioned in minutes of NMC is totally irrational. Instead of creating such unnecessary controversies or symbolism, NMC should concentrate on improving quality of medical education, protecting the dignity of modern medicine and welfare of young medicos”, Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, former national president of IMA said. He said that the IMA members in NMC will surely oppose it and see to it that this minutes are not converted in notification.

The classic Hippocratic oath says, “I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant….”

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