Med school admin removes ‘sexual orientation, ethnicity, pride’ from Hippocratic Oath

The Turkish Medical Association has warned medical school administrations against changing the text of the Hippocratic Oath during graduation ceremonies after a public university in Ankara removed phrases “gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity,” as well as “pride,” causing student outrage.

Duvar English

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) sent a letter to the deans of medical schools and medical chambers on May 30, urging them to ensure the Hippocratic Oath is recited according to “deontological (ethical)” principles during graduation ceremonies.

In a statement on the matter, the TTB emphasized that the World Medical Association’s Geneva Declaration, also known as the “Physician’s Oath,” is a common and binding commitment for all physicians. Despite warnings from the TTB and medical chambers, the text of the oath continued to be altered during graduation ceremonies.

Medical students at the public Yıldırım Beyazıt University of the capital province Ankara experienced a Physician’s Oath “crisis” during their graduation ceremony on June 13. The university administration completely changed the Physician’s Oath, requiring students to recite the text they had altered. 

The phrases “gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity,” which relate to the principle of non-discrimination and adherence to the universal values of the medical profession, were removed from the text. 

Additionally, the phrase “I solemnly, freely pledge upon my pride” was changed to “I solemnly, freely pledge on my honor.”

According to information obtained by the daily Cumhuriyet, students protested the administration by remaining silent while the text was read. They expressed their dissatisfaction, stating, “The administration has preemptively announced it will commit an ethical violation.”

TTB Vice President Ali İhsan Ökten underscored that the Hippocratic Oath was a universal pledge. He stated, “Medical chambers will initiate disciplinary investigations against the deans of schools where these changes have been implemented.”