Medicine - Code of Hammurabi

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Innovation Info
Year Invented (BC): 
1750 BC
Image Credit: 
Creative Commons
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The first recorded piece of legislation or rules governing the practice of medicine can be found in the Code of Hammurabi - rules of governance, payments, and punishments laid out by the King of Babylon, Hammurabi, in 1750 BC. The code highlights the fact that physicians performed a service to the society in treating ailments and sickness, and in return were paid money and also were punished if the results of the surgery / treatment ended up killing the patient. It must've been pretty scary being a physician at that time.., you don't only have to worry about the health of the patient, but also your own life if things didn't go well with your surgical procedure..., Gives new meaning to the word malpractice insurance (because the doctors would have pay with chopped hands or with death, for malpractice)

Code of Hammurabi 215:

   If a physician make a large incision with an operating knife and cure it, or if he open a tumor (over the eye) with an operating knife, and saves the eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 216:

   If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 217:

   If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician two shekels. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 218:

   If a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill him, or open a tumor with the operating knife, and cut out the eye, his hands shall be cut off. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 219:

   If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 220:

   If he had opened a tumor with the operating knife, and put out his eye, he shall pay half his value. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 221:

   If a physician heal the broken bone or diseased soft part of a man, the patient shall pay the physician five shekels in money. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 222:

   If he were a freed man he shall pay three shekels. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 223:

   If he were a slave his owner shall pay the physician two shekels. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 224:

   If a veterinary surgeon perform a serious operation on an ass or an ox, and cure it, the owner shall pay the surgeon one-sixth of a shekel as a fee. 
 

Code of Hammurabi 225:

   If he perform a serious operation on an ass or ox, and kill it, he shall pay the owner one-fourth of its value. 

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