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
Diagnose your problem with this online tool, you diseased wretch
Your noise reduction breakfast
It's for their own good
All your doodling done professionally.
This month at the community centre
Earth will be nothing more than a huge pie hanging in space.