UPON ENTERING THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, many physicians take the Hippocratic Oath, which sets out ethical guidelines. Nurses often take a similar oath, the Nightingale Pledge. Both vows are frequently distilled as “first, do no harm.” The Nightingale Pledge was created in the late nineteenth century, while the Hippocratic Oath can be traced back millennia. In its earliest form, the oath demanded that new physicians swear their fealty toa number of “healing gods.” Today, a med school grad pledging allegiance to those deities might well be assumed to have been smoking something. And that would be a strict no-no in the medical profession. Healthcare workers who are found to have used marijuana can lose their job and their license to practice. They and their employers could be exposed to medical malpractice liability, and the latter would also face workers’ compensation headaches galore.
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