Donatella Lippi, MPhil; GianFranco Gensini, MD; Andrea A. Conti, MD
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Lippi D, Gensini G, Conti AA. Charter on Medical Professionalism: Putting the Charter into Practice. Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:852-853. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-138-10-200305200-00025
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(10):852-853.
TO THE EDITOR:
The publication of the physician charter (1) is a great opportunity to ponder the meaning of the medical profession, its role in society, and the relationship between physician and patient. The principles and commitments of this charter overcome geographical and cultural borders and provide guidelines of behavior that are stimulating for a constructive dialogue, beginning from the universally valid Hippocratic triangle (physician, patient, sickness). Starting from the debate concerning the Hippocratic Oath (2), the necessity for a physician to swear an oath has been discussed (3). On one hand, it can induce paternalistic behavior and foster self-importance; on the other, many professional societies use oaths, which give them respectability and encourage group solidarity. The Hippocratic Oath must be read as a contract. Although there is no juridical responsibility, physicians who break the contract lose their repute. Nowadays, it is generally accepted that this oath represents not the ethics that are currently common to physicians but their team spirit, which binds them to each other, as in the past (4).
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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