Declaration of Geneva

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The Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association at Geneva in 1948 and amended in 1968, 1984, 1994, 2005 and 2006. It is a declaration of physicians' dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine, a declaration that was especially important in view of the medical crimes which had just been committed in Nazi Germany. The Declaration of Geneva was intended as a revision [1] of the Oath of Hippocrates to a formulation of that oath's moral truths that could be comprehended and acknowledged modernly.[2]

The original Declaration of Geneva reads:[3]

  • I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due;
  • I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
  • The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration;
  • I will respect the secrets which are confided in me;
  • I will maintain by all means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • My colleagues will be my brothers
  • I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honor.

The Declaration of Geneva, as currently amended, reads[2]:

  • I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
  • I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
  • The health of my patient will be my first consideration;
  • I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
  • I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;
  • I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;
  • I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honor.

The amendments to the Declaration have been criticised as "imping[ing] on the inviolability of human life" because, for example, the original made "health and life" the doctor's "first consideration" whereas the amended version removes the words "and life", and the original required respect for human life "from the time of its conception" which was changed to "from its beginning" in 1984 and deleted in 2005.[4] These changes have been criticised as straying from the Hippocratic tradition and as a deviation from the post Nuremberg concern of lack of respect for human life. [5]

See also

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