After Hours

Geek Trivia: The Quibble of the Week for July 15, 2008

This week's quibble comes from the July 8, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Monument alley." TechRepublic member Desmodeus set me straight as regards to my shallow knowledge of the Hippocratic Oath.

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the July 8, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Monument alley." TechRepublic member Desmodeus set me straight as regards to my shallow knowledge of the Hippocratic Oath:

"Actually it's more like 2 quibbles: 1) The phrase 'first do no harm' does not appear in the Hippocratic Oath. It is a translation of the Latin phrase 'Primum non nocere' which is generally attributed to Thomas Sydenham (1624 - 1689). The phrase that actually appears in the Hippocratic Oath is generally translated as 'I will keep them from harm and injustice.' 2) You claim that this 'mantra' is recited by all physicians. Contrary to popular belief modern physicians are not required to swear the Hippocratic Oath and my understanding is that the vast majority don't."

Clearly, I have a lot to learn about modern medical ethics (and Latin). Thanks for the quibble, and keep 'em coming!

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About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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