following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia
Society (SAVES). For
further information visit their website at http://www.saves.asn.au
Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society
Fact Sheet No.13
born about 460 BC, lived in an era when there were no medical schools
and no medical profession as we now know it.
the Oath laid the foundation for the ethical ideals to which medical practitioners
should aspire, its detailed wording, relevant to social conditions prevailing
2400 years ago, is not appropriate to the practice of modern medicine.
few, if any, medical schools require their students to take the original
form of the Oath.
oaths required by various medical schools vary from none at all, to edited
statements which reveal their historic origins, to modern statements that
bear no resemblance to the original Oath.
example of a modern statement is provided by the following Declaration,
in use at the Faculty of Medicine, Adelaide University.
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;
will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their
will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
health of my patients will be my first consideration;
will respect the secrets which are confided in me, even after a patient
will maintain by all means in my power the honour and the noble traditions
of the medical profession;
will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.
this type of oath the permissability of voluntary euthanasia hinges on
how the doctor's conscience interprets "the laws of humanity". While demanding
the highest ethical standards, such an oath does not rule out the possibility
of circumstances arising in which requested help to a hastened death may
rightly be given.
information contact SAVES at: http://www.saves.asn.au
contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia
- Fax + 61 8 8265 2287