INTERNATIONAL CODES FOR MEDICAL ETHICS
Ethics is all about ideal human conduct and an understanding of the moral values in which actions are judged as right or wrong and persons and institutions are judged as praiseworthy or blameworthy.
All medical decisions involve an ethical component in addition to clinical or scientific component. Major ethical issues have arisen from increased respect for patients` rights, financial restraints and new technologies.
Behind medical ethics, must stand such cardinal virtues as wisdom, justice, temperance, courage and benevolence.
The rights of the patient cover a broad range of moral and legal issues. The following are generally recognized the world-over as the rights of the patient:
- Right to be treated,
- Right to privacy,
- Right to know about the nature of illness and treatment required,
- The physician to keep information contained in patient’s record confidential unless its release is required by law,
- Right to have clear idea about medical bills he or she has to pay,
- Right to have access to his or her medical records
Code of Medical ethics
Almost up to the present century physicians were trained under an apprenticeship system, and each apprentice was required to take the Oath of Hippocrates. This code of ethics forms the basis of the Declaration of Geneva (1948) and the International Code of Medical Ethics (1949).
International Code of Medical Ethics
The “International Code of Medical Ethics”, as adopted by the World Medical Association in London, in October 1949 describes:-
(1) Duties of Doctors in General
A doctor must always maintain the highest standards of professional conduct. A doctor must not allow himself/herself to be influenced merely by motives of profit
(2) Duties of Doctors to the sick
A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving human life from the time of conception until death. A doctor owes to his patient absolute secrecy, complete loyalty and all the resources of his science.
(2) Duties of Doctors to each other
A doctor ought to behave to his/her colleagues as he would have them behave to him.