The Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association at Geneva in 1948 and amended by the 22d World Medical Assembly at Sydney in 1968. 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 NaziGermany. The Declaration of Geneva was intended to update the Oath of Hippocrates, which was no longer suited to modern conditions.
The Declaration of Geneva reads "AT THE TIME OF BEING ADMITTED AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE myself 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 OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets which 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, or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life from its beginning even under threat and I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honor."
World Medical Association (http://www.wma.net)
Declaration of Geneva (http://www.wma.net/e/policy/c8.htm) (at foot of page)
Adopted by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association at Geneva in 1948 and amended by the 22d World Medical Assembly at Sydney in 1968, the Declaration Of Geneva was one of the first and most important actions of the Association.
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 to update the Oath of Hippocrates, which was no longer suited to modern conditions.
Like the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration made informed consent a central requirement for ethical research while allowing for surrogate consent when the research participant is incompetent, physically or mentally incapable of giving consent, or a minor.
The Declaration also states that research with these groups should be conducted only when the research is necessary to promote the health of the population represented and when this research cannot be performed on legally competent persons.
The Declaration is important in the history of research ethics as the first significant effort of the medical community to regulate itself.
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