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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

DUTIES OF A PHYSICIAN                         .                     409

A doctor must give the necessary treatment in emergency, unless he is assured
that it can and will be given by others.

HE. Duties of Doctors to Each Other.—A doctor ought to behave to his colleagues
as he would have them behave to him. A doctor must not entice patients from his
colleagues. A doctor must observe the principles of "the following Declaration of
Geneva" approved and adopted by the general assembly of the "World Medical Asso-
ciation at Geneva in September 1948: —

At 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.

I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due ;
I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity;
The health of my patient will be my first consideration;
I will respect the secrets which are confided in me ;

I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of
the medical profession ;

My colleagues will be my brothers;

I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social
standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception;
even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.

I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

DUTIES OF A PHYSICIAN

When a medical man is registered to engage in the practice of medicine
and surgery after he has obtained a necessary degree or diptoma from a
university or a medical corporation, he is presumed by law—

1.    To use the necessary skill, care and attention in the treatment of
his patients.

2.    To continue to treat his patients and to pay them visits as long as
it is necessary, unless he has given due notice for discontinuing his treatment
or visits, so as to enable them to obtain the services of another medical
attendant, or the patients themselves have signified their intention of chang-
ing the doctor or where he is convinced that the illness is an imposture and
he is being made a party to a false pretence.

A medical practitioner is entitled to receive reasonable remuneration
for any professional service rendered by him except in a case where there
• is a definite understanding that his services shall be gratuitous. A medical
practitioner should give free medical aid to a professional brother, his wife,
and children, and to a medical student. There is a common belief among
the public that a medical practitioner is at the beck and call of anyone who
chooses to send for him, but it must be remembered that there is no law to
compel a medical practitioner to attend a patient except in a case where he
has previously bound himself by contractual obligations or has already
undertaken the treatment.6 Neither a police nor any other official has the
right to force or commandeer a physician's services without his consent
under any circumstances, except during military necessity.7 The Coroner
of Aldershot also observed in an inquest that a doctor is not obliged to attend
a case if he does not want to ; he can be .criticized if he promises to attend
and then fails to do so, but he is perfectly entitled—like any other profes-
sional man—to say he cannot attend a case.8 Nevertheless, it is necessary
to remember that a medical practitioner should not hesitate to render
medical or surgical assistance in an emergency, especially in a locality where
there is no other suitable medical aid; refusal in such a case would be coii-

6.    Conduct of Medical Practice, 1927, T>. 69.

7.   Carl Scheffel, Hed, Juris., 1931, p. 84.

8.    Lfmcet, March 15, 1930, p. 602,                                                            •                         , t