Moral relevance of oaths, declarations and codes in modern medicine

Simpson, Andries Johannes (2016-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Oaths, declarations and codes are seen as moral guides to which physicians can subscribe in the daily practice of medicine. Due to events since the Second World War, the World Medical Association was prompted to change the Hippocratic Oath to establish the Declaration of Geneva. In this thesis I ask the question: Are oaths, declarations and codes still morally relevant in addressing the realities of medicine, given the pluralistic belief systems of physicians from a variety of cultural backgrounds? Furthermore I address the following question: Do oaths, declarations and codes have any moral relevance, or are they just documents of a symbolic nature? In answering the central moral question; should the medical profession move away from oaths, declarations and codes and establish a new medical professionalism where more emphasis is placed on virtues, the characteristics and differences of the aforementioned documents are discussed. The consequences of the changes to the Declaration of Geneva are explored on a symbolic as well as a practical level. It seems as if the changes had little effect on the moral behaviour of physicians after 1948. If one evaluates the pledges of the Declaration of Geneva, one can come to the conclusion that it is mostly very difficult to expect of physicians to adhere to these pledges fully and that this document is more of symbolic significance. In conclusion I argue for establishing a new medical professionalism where the emphasis is more on virtues of the individual physician and continued medical education in this regard, at the undergraduate as well as the postgraduate level.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ede, deklarasies en kodes kan gesien word as dokumente wat as ‘n morele kompas gebruik kan word in die daaglikse beoefening van medisyne deur geneeshere. As gevolg van die gebeure tydens die Tweede Wereld Oorlog, het die Wereld Mediese Vereniging besluit om die Hippokratiese Eed aan te pas en te verander om die Geneefse Deklarasie daar te stel. In hierdie tesis vra ek die volgende vraag: Is ede, deklarasies en kodes nog steeds moreel relevant om die realiteit van medisyne in die moderne wereld aan te spreek, gegewe die pleuralistiese en multikulturele omgewing waarbinne die moderne geneesheer hom/haarself bevind? Ek probeer ook die volgende vraag beantwoord: Het bogenoemde dokumente nog steeds enige morele relevansie of is hulle waarde slegs simbolies van aard? In my poging om die sentrale morele vraag; behoort die mediese professie weg te beweeg van ede, deklarasies en kodes na die daarstelling van ‘n nuwe mediese professionalisme met die klem op deugde, te beantwoord, bespreek ek die verskille van genoemde dokumente. Die gevolge van die verandering na die Geneefse Deklarasie word bespreek op ‘n simboliese sowel as ‘n praktiese vlak. Dit wil voorkom asof die veranderinge nie veel effek gehad het op die gedrag van geneeshere na 1948 nie. As ‘n mens die onderskeie verklarings van die Geneefse Deklarasie evalueer, kom ‘n mens tot die gevolgtrekking dat dit uiters moeilik blyk wees om van geneeshere te verwag om ten volle aan hierdie vereistes te voldoen. Dit wil voorkom asof hierdie dokument meer simbolies van aard is. Ek sluit die tesis af met ‘n motivering vir die daarstelling van ‘n nuwe mediese professionalisme waar die klem geplaas word op die deugde van die geneesheer as individu. Ek voer ook die argument dat persoonlike deugde van die geneesheer as sulks verder ontwikkel en ondersteun moet word deur voortgesette mediese opleiding op voorgraads sowel as nagraadse vlak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98791
This item appears in the following collections: