Aim: The aim of the present paper is two-fold. First, it reviews the Hippocratic collection to identify instances related to the issue of medical malpractice and medical negligence. Second, it discusses the results viewed from today’s perspective, in the context of contemporary theories of liability in malpractice cases.
Method: A careful review of the books of Hippocratic collection was performed, as well as a narrative review of the currently available academic literature, focusing on topics of contemporary theories of liability in malpractice cases, which correspond roughly to the medical malpractice instances identified in Hippocratic collection.
Results: The Hippocratic authors touch on some issues which are essential to the contemporary theory of medical error and negligence, which, however, cannot yet unquestionably address these issues. Among others, they refer to errors that contemporarily might be viewed as technical human errors, errors of omission, or errors which were unavoidable in the context of applied ancient Greek medicine as is the case of injuries that are not based on physician’s fault, or situations where the diagnosis of the particular disease or causal link between the physician’s breach of duty and the damage suffered, was difficult or even impossible. Interestingly, the Hippocratic authors underscore some errors which might not be based on physician’s fault.
Conclusion: The passages mentioned in this paper, originating from the Hippocratic collection that refer to medical malpractice, imply an awareness of what is currently discussed as medical malpractice. This consideration may carry some weight, in particular when adopting a flexible traditionalist approach to the medical liability rules. HIPPOKRATIA 2019, 23(3): 99-105.