A Modern-Day Physician’s Pledge

The Revised Declaration of Geneva: A Modern-Day Physician’s Pledge Oct 2017

A newly revised version of the Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the World Medical Association (WMA) General Assembly on October 14, 2017, in Chicago.

As the contemporary successor to the 2500-year-old Hippocratic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva, which was adopted by the World Medical Association (WMA) at its second General Assembly in 1948, outlines in concise terms the professional duties of physicians and affirms the ethical principles of the global medical profession.  

The current version of the Declaration, which had to this point been amended only minimally in the nearly 70 years since its adoption, addresses a number of key ethical parameters relating to the patient-physician relationship, medical confidentiality, respect for teachers and colleagues, and other issues.

A newly revised version adopted by the WMA General Assembly on October 14, 2017, includes several important changes and additions (Supplement).

The Physician’s Pledge

AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

  • THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
  • I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
  • I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
  • 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 RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
  • I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
  • I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
  • I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
  • I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
  • 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 honour

To more explicitly invoke the standards of ethical and professional conduct expected of physicians by their patients and peers, the clause

“I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity”

was augmented to include the wording

“and in accordance with good medical practice.”

This implies that there is some valid standard of “good medical practice”, even though there is not.

The CDC created its version of “good medical practice” that is not based on scientifically accurate data, and the USDA is constantly revising what nutritional advice would be “good medical practice”.

These directives warp “good medical practice” by forcing doctors to follow whatever ideas are culturally dominant, regardless of their long years of learning and experience that normally form the basis for a doctor’s practice (and ethics) of medicine.

By adding “in accordance with good medical practice”, this oath validates the interference of other groups that seek to restrict or define “good medical practice” with their own agenda-driven guidelines.

…workgroup members incorporated the concept of physician well-being into the revised Declaration as follows: “I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.”

This clause reflects not only the humanity of physicians, but also the role physician self-care can play in improving patient care.

These and other editorial amendments, including the addition of a subtitle identifying the Declaration as a “Physician’s Pledge,” have enabled this pivotal document to more accurately reflect the challenges and needs of the modern medical profession.

This now includes the need to bend to the will of current societal fads (like opioi-phobia) instead of following science.

It is the hope of the World Medical Association that this thorough revision process and follow-up advocacy efforts will lead to more widespread adoption of the Declaration of Geneva on a global scale.

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