Hippocrates is often called “The Father of Western Medicine” because he started one of the first medical schools in ancient Greece.
- Hippocrates was born in Greece in 460 B.C.
- He learned medicine from his father and grandfather.
- Hippocrates developed a strict medical philosophy. Doctors should always be professional, calm, and serious. They should keep themselves clean and have clean offices with good lighting.
- Dissecting a human body was taboo in ancient Greece. Because of this, it was hard for Hippocrates and other doctors at the time to gain a thorough knowledge of anatomy. His medical treatment relied on gentle methods – rest, fasting, and washing wounds with clean water. He rarely used more invasive techniques like surgery. He thought these methods often did more harm than good.
- He was one of the first doctors to believe that disease wasn’t a punishment from the gods. He thought disease was the result of a lack of balance in the body.
- His Hippocratic Oath is still taken by doctors today. It says that doctors will do no harm to their patients.
- Hippocrates required his students to observe their patients and make careful, written records of their findings. He was one of the first doctors to diagnose heart and lung diseases. He began to categorize diseases according to their level of seriousness and their cause – chronic or acute. He was also a big believer in walking and nutritious food to cure diseases.
Questions and Answers
Question: Were Hippocrates’ views on medicine correct?
Answer: Many of them were, but not all. He believed in humors, or that four elements of the body – blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile – were responsible for many diseases. We now know that this is inaccurate.
Watch a short video about Hippocrates.