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The 1948 Declaration of Geneva is still used by doctors throughout. The traditional Hippocratic Oath was incorporated into most nations’ medical professional codes. It is enforceable by law in certain countries but is completely ignored in others. The new Declaration’s implementation will increase the medical community’s resolve to uphold the highest standards of patient care. The recent declaration, known as a physician’s commitment, reflects the changes in the decades-long interaction between doctors and their patients as well as between doctors and their colleagues. The revised commitment includes several adjustments, such as a focus on upholding the patient’s autonomy and dignity, a requirement for respect among medical educators, colleagues, and students, and a responsibility to share knowledge with other academics for patient welfare. Read on to know more.
It’s the 21st century – and modern medical science and technology have advanced rapidly to make a poignant difference in contemporary life. With time, the Hippocratic Oath, conceptualized 2,500 years ago has also undergone remarkable changes to make it more suitable and adaptable to the 21st century.
An update to the Hippocratic Oath for physicians was approved last year by the World Medical Association (WMA). It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. At the WMA’s Annual General Assembly in Chicago, physicians approved the revisions made to the Declaration of Geneva which was adopted by the Association in 1948.
What is the Hippocratic Oath?
The Hippocratic oath is an ethical code attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. It was adopted as a guide to conduct by the medical fraternity. It is also used by many medical schools during their graduation ceremonies.
In the oath, physicians pledge to prescribe a treatment that is beneficial to the patient according to their abilities and judgment. The pledge refrains the physicians from causing harm or hurt the patient and to live an exemplary personal and professional life.
How has the Oath been updated?
The new declaration is called a physician’s pledge and reflects the changes that have taken place over the past decades regarding the relationship between physicians and their patients and between physicians and their colleagues. Some of the changes that the new pledge incorporates include:
- Emphasis on respecting the dignity and autonomy of the patient
- Obligation for respect among medical teachers, colleagues, and medical students
- Share knowledge with other scholars for the welfare of patients and advancement in the healthcare sector
How will the Medical world benefit by making the Declaration global?
Physicians across the globe are still using the Declaration of Geneva, 1948. Most countries implemented the old Hippocratic Oath as part of the medical professional code. In some countries, it is legally binding, whereas, in others, it is not used at all.
Implementation of the new Declaration will strengthen the determination of the medical community to maintain the best healthcare standards for all patients.
For Medical Schools, preparing young students for a career in medicine, the updated pledge will play a vital role in shaping their future. For a top medical college, it’s all about its faculty and students and how together with the community, they can work harmoniously toward the well-being of society.