It’s the 21st century – and modern medical science and technology have advanced rapidly to make a poignant difference to 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 medical the 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 to cause 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 reflect the changes that have taken place over the past decades regarding the relationship between physicians and their patients and between the 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 the Medical world will 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 the 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 towards the well-being of the society. 

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