I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this contract:
I will appropriate the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly profit from such knowledge as is mine, to the detriment of those who are to follow.
I will apply for sickness benefits, and anything else I can get my hands on, avoiding those twin traps of overpayment and over-enthusiastic fraud investigators.
I will remember that there is a profit motive to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding have fewer overheads than the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
I will not be ashamed to say "piss off, I'm busy," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when it looks like things could kick off.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for the feeble and inconsequential minutia of their personal lives is of no interest to me. Most especially I couldn't give a toss if they live or die. If it is given to me to save a life, yeah great. But it may also be within my power to take a life - shit happens. So what? Above all, I must keep reminding myself that I am not God. After all, God doesn't have a publishing deal, does he?
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart or a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect his ability to settle my bill. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to adequately balance my books.
I will avoid patients whenever I can, for evasion is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society - in particular the Royal Horticultural Society, as I find the company of flora far more edifying than that of the scum with whom I am called upon to associate during the course of my working day.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help. If, however, I do violate this oath - and I'm not saying I will, just, y'know, just in case - well if I do, may I always ensure I do so out of sight of anyone who is unable to keep their mouth shut.
Trad arr Bongo
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2011
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