Hippocrates, Precepts (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; science; medicine] [word count] [Hipp. Praec.].
<<Hipp. Praec. 1 Hipp. Praec. 2 (Greek) >>Hipp. Praec. 13

2PART 2

II. But conclusions which are merely verbal cannot bear fruit, only those do which are based on demonstrated fact. For affirmation and talk are deceptive and treacherous. Wherefore one must hold fast to facts in generalisations also, [Note] and occupy oneself with facts persistently, if one is to acquire that ready and infallible habit which we call " the art of medicine." For so to do will bestow a very great advantage upon sick folk and medical practitioners. Do not hesitate to inquire of laymen, if thereby there seems likely to result any improvement in treatment. For so I think the whole art has been set forth, by observing some part of the final end in each of many particulars, and then combining all into a single whole. So one must pay attention to generalities in incidents, with help and quietness rather than with professions and the excuses that accompany ill-success.

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3PART 3

III. Early determination of the patient's treatment--since only what has actually been administered will benefit ; emphatic assertion is of no use--is beneficial but complicated. For it is through many turns and changes that all diseases settle into some sort of permanence. [Note]

4PART 4

IV. This piece of advice also will need our consideration, as it contributes somewhat to the whole. For should you begin by discussing fees, you will suggest to the patient either that you will go away and leave him if no agreement be reached, or that you will neglect him and not prescribe any immediate treatment. So one must not be anxious about fixing a fee. For I consider such a worry to be harmful to a troubled patient, particularly if the disease be acute. For the quickness of the disease, offering no opportunity for turning back, [Note] spurs on the good physician not to seek his profit but rather to lay hold on reputation. Therefore it is better to reproach a patient you have saved than to extort money from [Note] those who are at death's door.

5PART 5

V. And yet some patients ask for what is out of the way and doubtful, through prejudice, deserving indeed to be disregarded, but not to be punished. Wherefore you must reasonably oppose them, as they are embarked upon a stormy sea of change.

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For, in heaven's name, who that is a brotherly [Note] physician practises with such hardness of heart as not at the beginning to conduct a preliminary examination of every illness [Note] and prescribe what will help towards a cure, to heal the patient and not to overlook the reward, to say nothing of the desire that makes a man ready to learn?

6PART 6

VI. I urge you not to be too unkind, but to consider carefully your patient's superabundance or means. Sometimes give your services for nothing, calling to mind a previous benefaction or present satisfaction. [Note] And if there be an opportunity of serving one who is a stranger in financial straits, give full assistance to all such. For where there is love of man, there is also love of the art. For some patients, though conscious that their condition is perilous, recover their health simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician. And it is well to superintend the sick to make them well, to care for the healthy to keep them well, but also to care for one's own self, so as to observe what is seemly.

7PART 7

VII. Now those who are buried in deep ignorance of the art cannot appreciate what has been said. In fact such men will be shown up as ignorant of

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medicine, suddenly exalted yet needing good luck. For should wealthy men gain some remission of their trouble, these quacks win reputation through a double good fortune, and if a relapse occurs they stand upon their dignity, having neglected the irreproachable methods of the art, wherewith a good physician, a " brother of the art " as he is called, would be at his best. But he who accomplishes his cures easily without making a mistake would transgress none of these methods through want of power ; [Note] for he is not distrusted on the ground of wickedness. For quacks do not attempt treatment when they see an alarming [Note] condition, and avoid calling in other physicians, because they wickedly hate help. And the patients in their pain drift on a sea of twofold wretchedness for not having intrusted themselves to the end to the fuller treatment that is given by the art. For a remission of a disease affords a sick man much relief. Wherefore wanting a healthy condition they do not wish always to submit to the same treatment, therein being in accord with a physician's versatility. [Note] For the patients

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are in need through heavy expenditure, worshipping incompetence and showing no gratitude when they meet it ; [Note] when they have the power to be well off, they exhaust themselves about fees, really wishing to be well for the sake of managing their investments or farms, yet without a thought in these matters to receive anything. [Note]

8PART 8

VIII. So much for such recommendations. For remission and aggravation of a disease require respectively less or more medical assistance. A physician does not violate etiquette even if, being in difficulties on occasion over a patient and in the dark through inexperience, he should urge the calling in of others, in order to learn by consultation the truth about the case, and in order that there may be fellow-workers to afford abundant help. For when a diseased condition is stubborn and the evil grows, in the perplexity of the moment most things go wrong. So on such occasions one must be bold. [Note] For never will I lay it down that the art has been

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condemned in this matter. [Note] Physicians who meet in consultation must never quarrel, or jeer at one another. For I will assert upon oath, a physician's reasoning should never be jealous of another. To be so will be a sign of weakness. Those who act thus lightly are rather those connected with the business of the market-place. Yet it is no mistaken idea to call in a consultant. For in all abundance there is lack. [Note]



Hippocrates, Precepts (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; science; medicine] [word count] [Hipp. Praec.].
<<Hipp. Praec. 1 Hipp. Praec. 2 (Greek) >>Hipp. Praec. 13

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