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J Midlife Health. 2013 Oct;4(4):203-9. doi: 10.4103/0976-7800.122232.

Hippocratic oath and conversion of ethico-regulatory aspects onto doctors as a physician, private individual and a clinical investigator.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, New Delhi, India.
2
Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College and LNJP Hospital, New Delhi, India.
3
Department of Moalijat, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India.
4
Department of Kulliyat, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India.
5
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India.
6
Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India.

Abstract

Hippocratic Oath is a living document for ethical conduct of the physicians around the world. World Medical Association has been amending the oath as per the contemporary times. Although physicians maintain their ethical standards while treating a patient yet many a times social, administrative and ruling powers either use physicians as their tool of oppression or victimize them for conducting duties as per their oath. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Human Radiation Experiments in America, Nazi Experiments in Germany and compulsory sterilization program in India were the studies where States used physicians for the advancement of their rationality or belief. Conversely victimization of physicians in Kosovo, Sri Lanka and incarcerating physicians for treating human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients in some countries is concerning. The Nuremberg code, the Declaration of Geneva, Belmont Report and Declaration of Helsinki are ethical documents while active involvement of Food and Drug Administration through "common rule" resulted in guidelines like International Conference on Harmonization and Good Clinical Practices. Still unethical studies are found in developing countries. Studies such as experimental anticancer drugs in 24 cancer patients without adequate prior animal testing and informed consent in Kerala, studies at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi resulted in 49 deaths of children and many more suspicious studies are rampant. Reverting back to the fundamentals of the medical profession; teaching medical ethics and enforcement of "medical neutrality" by embarking some grade of "medical immunity" on the basis of the oath is necessary for ethical conduct of physicians.

KEYWORDS:

Ethical documents; hippocratic oath; medical ethics; medical immunity; medical neutrality

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