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Friday Slide Show: Hippocrates On Parnassus Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

28 April 2017

This summer will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The de Young Museum has already started the party with The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. But we thought we'd get in the mood by visiting Hippocrates on Parnassus.

For years now we've taken the 43 Masonic across town. Riding home on the same route, we leave the bat at Fort Mason, wind through the eucalyptus trees in the Presidio, across the Western Addition to the Haight, down Haight and up the hill to UCSF on Parnassus before getting home.

We spend most of the time looking out the window. And when we get to Parnassus, the view to the north takes in the Golden Gate and Mount Tamalpais. It also takes in the bright white marble statue of Hippocrates just off the sidewalk.

Hippocrates, who lived between 460and 370 BC (counting backwards there) was a Greek physician considered the father of modern medicine. One reason for that is his formulation of what has come to be known as the Hippocratic oath. Here's the modern version:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can but I will always look for a path to a cure for all diseases.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

You might say Hippocrates was the first hippie. He would have been perfectly at home in his toga and sandals down the hill on Haight St. in 1967.

The statue, one of several copies, was sculpted by Costos Georgakas of Athens who carved Hippocrates out of a block of solid marble from the mountain of Penteli in Greece. It was donated to UCSF by John N. Pappas in 1979.

Hippocrates isn't the only thing worth seeing on the University of California at San Francisco campus. There are sculptures by Beniamino Bufano, Bill Woodrow and Jim Campbell plus a mural by Douglas Cooper and a very old clock. So we wandered around snapping 58 images without arousing suspicion.

Take a little walk with us to see some of treasures you can find there.

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