Declaration of Geneva

views updated


World Medical Association

1948, amended 1968, 1983, 1994


The Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the second General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA) at Geneva in 1948, and subsequently amended by the twenty-second World Medical Assembly at Sydney in 1968, the thirty-fifth World Medical Assembly at Venice in 1983, and the 46th WMA Assembly at Stockholm in 1994. The declaration, which was one of the first and most important actions of the WMA, is a declaration of physicians' dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine, a pledge that was especially important in view of the medical crimes that 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. Of interest is the fact that the WMA considered this short declaration to be a more significant statement of medical ethics than the succeeding International Code of Medical Ethics.

Only a few changes have been made in the declaration since 1948. In 1968, the phrase "even after the patient has died" was added to the confidentiality clause. In the 1983 version, which follows, the sentence regarding respect for human life was modified. Prior to 1983, it read, "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.…" Finally, the 1994 version amended sexist language and added a broader range of impermissible categories of discrimination.

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.

About this article

Declaration of Geneva

Updated About content Print Article


Declaration of Geneva