The World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva (1948) Physician’s Oath

Adopted by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Geneva, Switzerland, September 1948 and amended by the 22nd World Medical Assembly, Sydney, Australia, August 1968.

Introduction

The World Medical Association is an association of national medical associations. This oath seems to be a response to the atrocities committed by doctors in Nazi Germany. Notably, this oath requires the physician to “not use [his] medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.” This document was adopted by the World Medical Association only three months before the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which provides for the security of the person.

Physician’s Oath

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 to 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 maintain by all the means in my power, the honor 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 the time of conception, 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 honor.