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rev. 01-31-97

Be it pledged as an Emergency Medical Technician, I will honor the physical and judicial laws of of God and man. I will follow that regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of patients and abstain form whatever is deleterious and mischievous, nor shall I suggest any such counsel. Into whatever honors I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of only the sick and injured, never revealing what I see or hear in the lives of men unless required by law.

I shall also share my medical knowledge with those who may benefit from what I have learned. I will serve unselfishly and continuously in order to help make a better world for all mankind.

While I continue to keep this oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life, and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. Should I trespass or violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot. So help me God.

Adopted by The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians 1978

Thank you for inquiring about the source of the EMT "Oath".

I was the author of the EMT Oath back in the early 1970' s. At the time, I was the (original) Chairman of the EHSAC (Emergency Health Services Advisory Council) serving under Governor Jimmy Carter. It was that Council that set up all the original regulations for the EMS service in Georgia.

One part of the program was to sponsor EMS training sessions. In the beginning, the State had no funds for such activities so three of us in Albany created a not-for-profit Foundation to sponsor such events. To start the account, we each put $25.00 in an account and through accumulated $378,000.00 before the state finally took over the training process. (they "could do it cheaper" HA!)

During one of our conferences with about 450 attending, I was told of misconduct events of two EMTs from other towns in Georgia. One had fondled a patient in the back of an ambulance and another (who was also a deputy sheriff) had appeared at his station intoxicated. He then pulled his weapon on the primes in somewhat a threatening manner. Otherwise, both of those people had good reputations and their supervisors did not want to lose them as EMTs.

After giving some thought on how to deal with those people, I decided that the EMS system needed some type of pledge that people would take upon graduation similar to the Hippocratic Oath that I took when I graduated from Emory Medical School. I left the meeting for about an hour so I could go to my office and type an "Oath".

Upon returning to the meeting, I asked the two "offenders" to stand at their place in the audience, raise their right hands, and repeat the "Oath" after me. Then, I asked the entire audience to do the same, stand, raise their right hand, and repeat the oath. In that way, I wanted everyone to realize that although the "Oath" was written specifically for the two people whose offenses had been widely discussed during the meeting, it, in reality, applied to everyone in the Ga. EMS system.

It was nicely received, even to the point that many requested a copy of the "Oath". Subsequently, the EHSAC group adopted the "Oath" as did the Georgia EMS Directors Assn. Rocco Miranda, the Director of the National Assn. of EMTs, called and wanted to use the "Oath". Then the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (publishers of the "Orange" Textbook" and the Brady Company (publishers of Grant and Murray's Vehicle Rescue Text) asked permission to publish the "Oath" in their textbooks. As time went on, it appeared on a number of National and International Web sites. In fact, I am constantly amazed at it wide usage.

Thus, this is the story of the EMT "Oath". The "Prayer" was also subsequently written but not for such a dramatic fashion event nor has it been so widely used. In fact, I do not have copies of the Prayer printed as there was never much demand for a printout.

If you would like to have a signed copy of the "Oath", please send me your mail address and I will send you a couple of copies.

Thank you for your interest in the "Oath". I am very proud that something "bad" turned into something "good" and the result has been used on such a wide spread basis. You can publish this story if need be.

Best of luck to you in your EMS work.
Charles B. Gillespie, M.D. Albany, Ga.

For more information, you may contact me as:
2315 Winchester Road Albany, Georgia 31721

FAX 229-420-6910



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