Physician’s Code of Medical Ethics updated
World Medical Association, 8 October 2022
The revised Code, regarded as the foundation of ethical principles for physicians worldwide, defines the professional duties of physicians towards their patients, other physicians and health professionals, themselves, and society as a whole. It was adopted today in a unanimous vote at the WMA’s annual General Assembly in Berlin by physician leaders from almost 60 national medical associations…
The Code says that physicians must respect not only the dignity and the rights of patients, but also explicitly mentions their autonomy…
…Duties to the patient
- In providing medical care, the physician must respect the dignity, autonomy, and rights of the patient. The physician must respect the patient’s right to freely accept or refuse care in keeping with the patient’s values and preferences.
- The physician must commit to the primacy of patient health and well-being and must offer care in the patient’s best interests. In doing so, the physician must strive to prevent or minimise harm for the patient and seek a positive balance between the intended benefit to the patient and any potential harm.
- The physician must respect the patient’s right to be informed in every phase of the care process. The physician must obtain the patient’s voluntary informed consent prior to any medical care provided, ensuring that the patient receives and understands the information needed to make an independent, informed decision about the proposed care. The physician must respect the patient’s decision to withhold or withdraw consent at any time and for any reason…