No Charak Shapath, No Hippocratic Oath: NMC proposes new Physician's Pledge
New Delhi: Amid the ongoing controversy regarding the centuries-old Hippocratic Oath and Charak Shapath, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has clarified in the new Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Misconduct) Regulations 2022 that the medical professionals in the country need to take the Declaration of Geneva 2017 called 'The Physician's Pledge'.Earlier, the suggestion...
New Delhi: Amid the ongoing controversy regarding the centuries-old Hippocratic Oath and Charak Shapath, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has clarified in the new Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Misconduct) Regulations 2022 that the medical professionals in the country need to take the Declaration of Geneva 2017 called 'The Physician's Pledge'.
Earlier, the suggestion from NMC, the apex medical body, to replace the Hippocratic Oath with the Charak Shapath had faced severe criticism from a major section of the medical fraternity. However, now junking both, the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) of NMC has decided to stick to the Geneva Declaration of 2017 by including the Physician's Pledge in the recently released Draft Regulations.
Guideline- 3 of the Draft deals with the NMC Code of Medical Ethics. After discussing the Code of Ethics that the doctors need to follow, the Draft has included "The Physician's Pledge" which read as follows:
"1. AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:
2. I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
3. THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
4. I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
5. I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
6. I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
7. I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
8. I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
9. I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
10.I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
11.I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
12.I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
13.I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
14.I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour."
Medical Dialogues had reported back in 2017 that the World Medical Association had approved a modern successor to the Hippocratic Oath. Physician leaders, meeting at the WMA's annual General Assembly in Chicago, had approved revisions to the Declaration of Geneva, which was adopted by the Association in 1948. WMA agreed on the revised pledge following a two-year revision process, including a period for public consultation.
The Declaration of Geneva was first adopted by the 2nd General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Geneva, Switzerland back in September 1948. Following this, the Declaration went through several amendments over the years during the WMA meet. Finally, the 2017 amendment was adopted during the WMA General Assembly on October 14, 2017.
The revised Declaration, which came to be known as a pledge, refocuses the text to reflect changes over the decades in the relationship between physicians and their patients and between physicians themselves.
The confirmation regarding this came from the Minutes of NMC discussion with all the medical colleges in India.
The Minutes of the meeting dated 07.02.2022, which had spread like fire on the social media platforms, mentioned, "No Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony (with parents) the oath will be "Maharshi Charak Shapath" present in NMC website."
Although this change was set to be implemented from February 14, 2022, the proposal faced a huge backlash from the medical fraternity. Doctors across the country expressed their strong opposition to it and some even questioned how the students of modern medicine can take an oath in the name of someone belonging to Indian System of Medicine.
The Indian Medical Association had also come forward and raised its voice against the proposal. Terming it to be an attempt at Mixopathy, IMA decided to meet the Union Health Minister to discuss the issue.
Although the Health Ministry has recently confirmed that the there is no proposal is replace the Hippocratic Oath, the new MBBS curriculum introduced by NMC also mentions recommending the modified version of Maharshi Charak Shapath "when a candidate is introduced to medical education."
Amid all this, now the new Draft RMP Regulations introduced by NMC has junked both these oaths by including "The Physician's Pledge" in the NMC Code of Medical Ethics.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.