HomePhilippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeryvol. 31 no. 2 (2016)

The Physician’s Pledge: Promises at Dawn, Passages in Darkness

Jose Florencio F. Lapena Jr.



The old guards are fading as we take their place. Many of us are ourselves in golden years, with more of our lives behind than before us. But all around us, many lives much younger than ours are being violently and unjustly terminated on a daily basis. In our very homes and communities, “man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.”2 As the morning of our life slowly fades and twilight shadows lengthen, this realization should stir us to “rage against the dying of the light”1 – not so much for ourselves, but on behalf of these countless thousands.


Whether we accomplished little, or much in our lifetime, the promises we once made will ultimately be measured against our own passage. Many of these pledges were uttered in our springtime, when dawn was breaking on our seemingly endless day. Over our lifetime, we may have kept some oaths, and broken others—in matters large or small. Many of these are personal matters that do not involve the rest of us. But there is one vow that we professed in common, and that concerns all of us-- the Physician’s Oath.3