SIGNPOSTS FOR DOCTORS: DECALOGUE AND THE HIPPOCRATES OATH
In relation to unprecedented attacks on the group of doctors who publicly declared that in their work they would follow the voice of conscience, I express full solidarity with those who want to fulfill their ministry faithfully, with respect of the human life from conception to natural death. Our doctors reminded not only the basic commandments of the Decalogue in their declaration, but also source rules formulated in the Hippocrates’ Oath which has been forming the image of medicine of our cultural group for two and a half thousand years.. Facing the new challenges which appear with the development of biomedical sciences, more than ever, doctors should be people of conscience. In the situation of the conflict of basic moral values with law accepted on the basis of a consensus, a doctor has unlimited right to use the clause of conscience written, among the others, in the Code of medical ethics. The provision, included in the functioning legislative solutions, which conditions using the clause of conscience with a necessity of suggesting somebody who would do actions considered as wicked by a doctor, liquidates it in practice. Therefore, the lack of consequences in legal writings requires urgent and necessary changes. However, it is a task not for doctors but for politicians who should also be people of conscience.
Expressing one’s respect to attitudes of doctors, preserved in the tradition of Hippocrates and supported with the experience of Christianity, I appeal for stopping actions demoralizing medical environment, aware of its vocation. I am also in full solidarity with prof. Bogdan Chazan who is courageous to defend unquestionable rules of Hippocrates’ Oath, despite the attacks against him.
DR. KAZIMIERZ SZALATA, A founder and a director of the Conservatorium of Ethics ‘Medicine for a measure of the man’
Warsaw, 12 June 2014