Code Of Ethics International

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


Duties of Physician in General

1.   A Physician shall always maintain the highest standards of professional conduct.

2.   A Physician shall not permit motives of profit to influence the free and independent exercise of professional judgment on behalf of patients.

3.   A Physician 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.

4.   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.

5.   A Physician shall respect the rights of patients, of colleagues, and of other health professionals, and safeguard patient confidences.

6.   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.

7.   A Physician shall use great caution in divulging discoveries or new techniques or treatment through non-professional channels.

8.   A Physician shall certify only that which he has personally verified.

Duties of Physicians to the Sick

1.   A Physician shall always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life.

2.   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.

3.   A Physician shall preserve absolute confidentiality on all he knows about his patient even after the patient has died.

4.   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

1.   A Physician shall behave towards his colleagues as he would have them behave towards him.

2.   A Physician shall not entice patients from his colleagues.

3.   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

1.   Self advertising by physicians, unless permitted by the laws of the country and the Code of Ethics of the National Medical Association.

2.   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.

1.   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.

2.   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.

3.   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.

4.   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.

5.   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.

6.   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.