©2003 Copley News Service, 7/1/2003
Hippocrates, circa 400 B.C., is credited with creating the oath to which all doctors swore. The oath was subsequently named in his honor and survives to this day as the Hippocratic Oath. From this early date physicians were already organized into a guild, with regulations for training and the promotion of a professional ideal. To paraphrase from this oath, a doctor's responsibility is to "first, do no harm." Unfortunately for doctors, Congress does not abide by a similar oath, particularly in the area of health-care policy.