Q’town doctor thrilled by role in oath change

Queenstown doctor Sam Hazledine got goosebumps when the World Medical Association voted to change the Hippocratic oath  to include his amendment regarding the wellbeing of doctors.

Sam Hazledine
Sam Hazledine

He said the clause to the Declaration of Geneva, approved unanimously at the WMA’s general assembly in Chicago yesterday, was a positive step for the medical profession.

Previously, doctors swore  to protect the health of their patients as their first priority.

The new wording changes that focus and reads: "I will attend to my own health, wellbeing and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard."

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times from the United States, Dr Hazledine said he was thrilled.

"I was confident [it would pass] but I am also relieved ...  It was a special thing to be part of."

He said the document had been "rounded out" to reflect the modern medical profession. The next step is to ensure it is adopted globally.

"Values are only meaningful if you live and breathe them. This is not just for med students to swear on when they enter the profession —  this is something we are going to live by.

"What is really exciting is the WMA is going to start every meeting with everyone reciting it, so we are going to bring it into our  ...  everyday language."

Although Dr Hazledine said the change was "bigger" than him, he felt "thrilled" to be the driving force behind it.

"But I also feel really grateful that it has happened and that I was part of it. My main emotion is gratitude."

The Declaration of Geneva was first adopted in 1948 as a global standard of medical ethics and humanitarianism after the atrocities committed during World War 2.

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