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Ethics anniversary honoured

Tuesday September 19th, 2017

This week has marked a major anniversary in the development of medical ethics and the drive to prevent doctors taking part in abuses such as those perpetrated in the early 20th century.

Yesterday was World Medical Ethics Day, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Medical Association.

The association was founded a month after a number of doctors were convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg trials following the end of World War II.

Some 23 doctors were put on trial and seven sentenced to death in August 1947 in the first of 12 trials of its kind. Seven were acquitted and the remainder imprisoned.

Yesterday its leaders highlighted the need to continue to promote high standards of ethics, requiring doctors not to participate in torture or degrading treatments or experiments.

President Dr Ketan Desai said: “The achievements of the WMA over the past 70 years have been enormous in promoting the highest standards of medical ethics in the profession. Membership has grown significantly and the WMA’s many statements have become a central part of health policy around the world.

“Although we are proud of what the Association has achieved, there are still challenges before us. There has been a remarkable development of medical ethics during the past seventy years. The WMA has clear rules on what physicians should and should not do in their daily care of patients, their research, in dealing with disasters and even during war.

“But with conflict zones around the world, we still have to make it clear that doctors must not involve themselves in any way in torture and degrading treatment or punishment.”

Tags: Europe | World Health

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