A Healer's Oath

Capital [W]ith great respect and love, I welcome you with all my heart. On reviewing my Traditional Chinese Medical books, I came across an excerpt from the diary of Dr. Chang Teh Hway taken from the back page of the Journal of American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 3, 1983 which seems a very fitting summary of all we should remember in practicing Oriental Medicine or whatever form of healing philosophy we practice whether western or eastern.

The following guidelines are very similar to the western Hippocratic Oath which most western physicians have taken as M.D.s during graduation ceremony. I have written the following guidelines especially for my TCM colleagues for their information and review:

The Physician takes care of people's life.

He is placed at the head of the hundred
arts and crafts, sitting with equal footing
of Premier and Minister.

It is the art of humanity.

One should not look down on the Physician
as practicing the Little Tao, only integrated
with no false character, tranquil and serene,
can a person discuss the subject of medicine.

Those who enter my gate should know that the
distress of others is also mine.

No delay should be allowed on a call from a patient.

Do not ask if the patient is noble or poor.

Always keep in heart the saving of life.

The mouth should not cease reciting medical
texts; the hands continuously fiddling the hundreds of herbs.

Do not be jealous of the knowledge of others.

Do not comment on the attitude of other physicians.

Do not slander the physician who has cared
for the patient previously.

Do not slander the prescriptions of other physicians.

Do not cultivate fame.

Do not be greedy of money.

Do not boast of your knowledge and ability.

Do not flatter the powerful and wealthy
person; you would rather have your arm
broken than bend your back.

To save life is your sole aim, idea, purpose, and concern.

If the course of disease is baffling without
sign of improvement; you must with trembling
caution wholeheartedly review your diagnosis and treatment.

If you are visited by monks or taoists who
wish to pay you, accept not a cent.

Zhong Shan's Medical Teachings
March 10, 1933
From the diary of Dr. Chang Teh Hway (1895 - 1971)
Oriental Hospital, Teng-Chong, Yunnan.

These are my Traditional Chinese Medicine practice guidelines which I follow and which my Chinese teachers of Traditional Chinese Medicine have also been following for the past century. I always read these guidelines to remind me of my purpose or goal as a TCM practitioner and also to remind me of how I should deal with other health practitioners and my clients.

May the (Qi) force be with you.

Prepared by Ricardo B. Serrano, DAc, MH, ADS, March 1, 1998
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