Code of Ethics

The Nepal Medical Council passed a code of ethics which all doctors registered under it are to abide by. The code is written as:

Declaration

The following declarations should be read and agreed to be abided by the applicant at the time of registration.

  • I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.
  • Even under threat, I will not use my knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.
  • I will not permit considerations of sex, religion, nationality, race, party-politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient.
  • 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.
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due.
  • I will maintain by all means in my practice, the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession.
  • My colleagues will be my brothers.
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

Statements by the Professions Physicians on Code of Ethics.

The Hippocratic Oath (5th Century BC)

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgement, this covenant:

  • I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
  • I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
  • I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
  • I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
  • I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
  • I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
  • I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
  • I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
  • If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

World Medical Association Declaration, Geneva (1948, 1968, 1983)

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 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 means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • MY COLLEAGUES will be my brothers;
  • I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics 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;
  • I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
  • I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honour;

International Code of Medical Ethics (World Medical Association London 1949 Sydney, 1968, Venice 1983)

Duties of Physician in General

  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL always maintain the highest standards of professional conduct.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL not permit motives of profit to influence the free and independent exercise of professional judgment on behalf of patients.
  • A PHYCICIAN SHALL, in all types of medical practice, be dedicated to providing competent medical service in full technical and moral independence, with compassion and respect for human dignity.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL deal honestly with patients and colleagues, and strive to expose those physicians deficient in character or competence, or who engage in fraud of deception.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect the rights of patients, of colleagues, and of other health professionals, and safeguard patient confidences.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL act only in the patient’s interest when providing medical care which might have the effect of weakening the physical and mental condition of the patient.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL use great caution in divulging discoveries or new techniques or treatment through non-professional channels.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL certify only that which he has personally verified.

Duties of Physicians to the Sick

  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL owe his patients complete loyalty and all the resources of his science. Whenever an examination or treatment is beyond the physician’s capacity he should summon another physician who has the necessary ability.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL preserve absolute confidentiality on all he knows about his patient even after the patient has died.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL give emergency care as a humanitarian duty unless he is assured that others are willing and able to give such care.

Duties of Physicians to each other

  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL behave towards his colleagues as he would have them behave towards him.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL not entice patients from his colleagues.
  • A PHYSICIAN SHALL observe the principles of the Declaration of Geneva approved by the World Medical Association.

The following practices are deemed to be unethical conduct

  • Self advertising by physicians, unless permitted by the laws of the country and the Code of Ethics of the National Medical Association.
  • Paying or receiving any fee or any other consideration solely to procure the referral of a patients or for prescribing or referring patient to any source.

The Declaration of Tokyo (World Medical Association 1975)

Guide lines for Medical Doctors concerning torture and other cruel, inhuman Degrading treatment or punishment in relation to Detention and Imprisonment.

It is the privilege of the medical doctor to practice medicine in the service of humanity, to preserve and restore bodily and mental health without discrimination as to persons, to comfort and to ease the suffering of his or her patients. The utmost respect for human life is to be maintained even under threat, and no use made of any medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.

For the purpose of this Declaration, torture is defined as the deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more person’s action alone or on the orders of any authority, to force another person to yield information, to make a confession or for any other reason.

  • The doctor shall not countenance, condone or participate in the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading procedures, whatever the offense of which the victim of such procedures is suspected, accused or guilty, and whatever the victim’s beliefs or motives, and in all situations, including armed conflict and civil strike.
  • The doctor shall not provide any premises, instruments, substances or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or to diminish the ability of the victim to resist such treatment.
  • The doctor shall not be present during any procedure during which torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is used or threatened.
  • A doctor must have complete clinical independence in deciding upon the care of a person for whom he or she is medically responsible. The doctor’s fundamental role is to alleviate the distress of his or her fellow men, and no motive whether personal, collective or political shall prevail against the higher purpose.
  • Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the doctor as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially. The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent doctor. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the doctor to the prisoner.
  • The World Medical Association will support, and should encourage the international community, the national medical associations and fellow doctors to support the doctor and his or her family in the face of threats or reprisals resulting from a refusal to condone the use of torture or other forms or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

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