Part 1

Medicine is of all the Arts the most noble; but, not withstanding, owing to the ignorance of those who practice it, and of those who, inconsiderately, form a judgment of them, it is at present far behind all the other arts. Their mistake appears to me to arise principally from this, that in the cities there is no punishment connected with the practice of medicine (and with it alone) except disgrace1, and that does not hurt those who are familiar with it. Such persons are like the figures which are introduced in tragedies, for as they have the shape, and dress, and personal appearance of an actor, but are not actors, so also physicians are many in title but very few in reality.

1 In this passage it would seem to be asserted, that in the time of the writer there was no punishment of mala praxis except the disgrace which it entailed. Many other passages in the Hippocratic treatises would lead to the inference that a more severe responsibility attached to the physciian for unfortunate practice; as we often find the practitioner warned not to have anything to do with certain cases. Here the author of this treatise seems to regret the want of a proper medical police.

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