Steven Miles, MD

Professor of Medicine Emeritus,

Professor of Medicine Emeritus

Center for Bioethics

MD, University of Minnesota


Steven H. Miles is Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Bioethics. He is the former Maas Family Endowed Chair in Bioethics at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. He served as President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and received its Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. Among his other awards is the National Council of Teachers of English George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, American Bar Association-Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Human Rights Hero, and the Sullivan-Ballou Fund Award for Human Rights. His medical career was in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics.

Dr. Miles has published four books, more than twenty chapters and more than 200 medical articles on medical ethics, human rights, tropical medicine, and end of life care. The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine (Oxford University Press) reviewed the meaning of the Hippocratic Oath. Oath Betrayed: America's Torture Doctors (University of California Press) examined military medicine in the war on terror prisons. He maintains two websites, Military Medicine and the War on Terror is an archive of 60,000 pages of government documents describing this medical system in war on terror prisons and The Doctors Who Torture accountability Project.

He has extensive international experience including global work with refugees and work on behalf of victims of torture. He has a special interest in holding physicians accountable for collaboration with torture. He currently serves on the boards of the Minnesota ACLU Foundation and on the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries and is on the Advisory Council of World Without Genocide.




The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine

Oath Betrayed: America's Torture Doctors

Published in Summer 2007 Bioethics Examiner
Hippocratic Oath: A 2007 Vernacular Version *
by Steven Miles, MD

I swear by human grief at the mortality of our loved ones, by the family of healers, by all manner of treatments and by health itself to fulfill this oath according to my power and judgment; and to respect those who have taught me this art and to support the institutions of health education, and to esteem those who aspire to become healers as my brothers and sisters and to share the facts, theories and methods of the healing sciences with them. I will use treatments for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgment but from what is to their harm or injustice I will keep them. I will not commit murder nor will I assist such endeavors. I will not endanger a woman in pregnancy.

In a pure and holy way I will guard my life and my art.

To each clinical encounter, I will go for the benefit of the ill and I will refrain from unjustly treating them, especially from sexual acts with my patients or their relatives. I will remain silent about the private things that I see or hear regardless of whether I learn of them during treatment or in broader conversations, if I honor this oath and do not evade its spirit or violate it, may I enjoy the benefits of life and of this profession and be respected by all. If I transgress, the opposite be my lot.

*[This version is derived from the translation of von Staden H. J Hist Med Allied Sci 1996;51:406 and the analysis of its cultural meaning in Miles S. The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2004. I deleted the passage, I will not cut, and certainly not those suffering from stone, but I will cede [this] to men [who are] practitioners of this activity, because it was probably inserted centuries after the 500 BC writing of the Oath.]


Board Certifications

Dr. Miles is retired from the clinical practice of Board Certified Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.