A bald Professor of the Laconic Medical University came to address a group of young doctors from various public and private hospitals in India who were having a lunch after a medical meeting on stents for heart disease.
“Greetings, my fellow brethren!”
Various voices rose from the audience.
“Arrey, dude! Why are you talking funny like?”
“Who are you, Mister?”


The bald man rose to his full height.
“I am Hip. Hip O’Crates.”
“Hip? What a cool name!”
“Where are you from, Hip?”

“I am from Kos-sipore.”
“So, tell us, Doc-Hip, what are you doing here?”

“Gentlemen, I am here for a new project funded by the Bill Gates Foundation. I am heading a project codifying a new list of commandments for doctors. In essence, it will redefine how physicians will behave in the next thousand years.”

Again, several voices rose in repsonse.
“I thought a Code was something that was made into a movie.”
“And I thought a Code is something that women say when they ask a question to a man.”
“What is this new code, Hip?”

“Okay, gentlemen, I will discuss this with you in details. Let me spell out the important portions.
The first line goes like this: I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygeia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath.

“Hey, Hip! What did you smoke?”
“Saala, piyelaa hai!”
“Nahin re, yeda hai!”
“I work in Apollo, too, and I think they suck!”
“Panacea Biotech is a good company. They sponsored the lunch at the last Association meet, you know?!”

Hip O’Crates waved his hands to placate the young crowd.
“Look, er, guys, let me cut this out. Too confusing. Next:
To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents..

Another loud buzz flowed out from the group.
“ Treat my boss like my Dad, are you kidding me? Some of my Professors barely used to be sober in the day!”
“Yeah, and one of mine got slapped in the ward when he tried to gainfully palpate the buttocks of an intern!”

Hip O’Crates shuddered, and continued.
“ … and to live my life in partnership with him.”
A wisecrack: “ Provided he has a very pretty daughter!”

“… and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine.”
“ Very funny, what money?”
“I lost whatever I earned in the bars, gambling tables, and stock market,
More laughter.

“… and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant”
“ Teach your enemy what you know? Arrey, I will happily shave my head if my boss’ son became blind or lame! Bugger is undercutting my cases left and right, you know?!”

Hip was sweating now: “… to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.”
A senior surgeon remarked, “My driver has been assisting me for so long that he does all my simple cases. Very reliable! This way, I can take time off to play the stock market, you know? Who can afford to miss out on this bull market, yaar?”

“ I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment”
“ What’s a diet?”
“What does diet matter to the modern doc? Unless it means supplements. The ones for which the company-wallahs took us for that Alaska trip last year? You went, na?”
, a thin man with a goatee asked his neighbor.

A little dizzy, Hip intoned,“ I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”
“Not even to Prakash Karat or Mamata?”
“Or even to the makers of movies like Welcome and Om Shanti Om?”

“ Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

“Hey, man, Why are you Wadeing into a controversy that will only bring you eternal sore Roe?”

Hip: “ In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”
“Make that guard my wife and my tax consultant!”
The audience was thoroughly enjoying this now.

“ I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.”
“Do you wanna starve, Hip?”
“Yeah, do you know that unless you operate on all the stones that would pass off spontaneously in the piss, or are harmless and asymptomatic, you can’t ever hope to make a Europe trip with spouse? Be practical, man!”

“I will remain free of sexual relations with both female and male persons”.
“Only if you are a vet! Haraharhar!”

“What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.”
Now a few voices again expressed outrage at his proposals.
“Hip, but if you don’t, what will you chat about in the parties and conferences? People won’t refer you cases if you are so boring!”
“And if you don’t keep dropping the names of the VIP patients you have treated, whether in real life or in your dreams, people won’t get impressed. And, you know, boss, if you don’t impress people, no one gives a rat’s rectum to your ability. It’s all marketing and packaging, you know?”

Hip continued, voice choking,
“ If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.”

“Hey, Hip, just reverse that and we will be fine, okay?”

Hip quickly realised his policy needed to change. He said,
“In other words, gentlemen, let me rephrase this new code:
I swear by all my sponsors that I will be careful of my teachers’ kids, especially if they are competitive. And I will live with my teacher if his daughter is good at oral sex.
I will rely on expensive nutritional supplements for the healthy and the sick, and I will deal with abortions according to the local laws, practise for profit the holy art of sex determination and female feticide.
I will get a confidentiality waiver from all my patients, and exploit each case to the utmost in my material self interest. I will, where possible, avoid inflating my statistics to the media beyond reasonable proportions.
I can show the photographs of any of my patients, but I will not circulate the nude pictures of the film actresses who I photograph in the nude while they are under anesthesia.
I will not have sexual relations with the pets or domesticated animals of my patients. I will, however, use all protective measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies during such encounters that are never shown in Animal Planet.
I will not do anything unethical. The definition of ethics will be shortly drafted by an Ethics Panel consisting of Bill Clinton, Jagdish Tytler, Mayavati, George Fernandes, Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez and Larry Craig.”


  1. //…but I will not circulate the nude pictures of the film actresses who I photograph in the nude while they are under anesthesia.//

    Yet, can a man who’d swear not to share such beauty with the world be genuinely considered ethical? I’m appalled by this willful stinginess, I tell you!

  2. 😆 I just hope you were not looking in the mirror and having this conversation! 😀

  3. Doc,

    This was a blog waiting to happen. When I saw the first “Munnabhai” film a couple of weeks ago (to avoid being declared an outcaste by kith and kin) my first thought was about the necessity of revising Hip’s charter, making it more “Hep”, “cool”, “with it” etc. You done it!

  4. Post script: Is the Lancet sponsoring you?

  5. Lol, it was brilliant. After all those Benazir Bhutto assassinated posts I’ve commented on, this was a welcome change.

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