Is Conscience In Medicine a religious organisation?
No. There is no religious or faith component to the declaration of conscience in medicine. The liberty to believe and to live according to that belief is fundamental to freedom and is well expressed by many international declarations particularly the UDHR and the ICCPR
Is there a sponsoring organisation?
In a sense, yes. Medicine With Morality started in 2006 with a very clear belief statement – also not religious – concerning the beginning of human life and its importance. This statement also included a section concerning liberty of conscience.
Was there a trigger to this?
Yes. The trigger as explained in the separate page Why This Declaration was primarily the Victorian Abortion Reform Law Section 8 which compels doctors to refer for abortion – to a doctor they know will be in favour of abortion – or in emergency do it themselves (!).
Is it intended for Conscience In Medicine to do submissions?
No. It is a stand-alone site simply declaring that the doctors who sign in will defend their traditional right to not go against their conscience and that medical ethics should be independent from government.
What do you mean by a stand-alone site?
It is a Declaration only. There will be no political or other action coming from Conscience In Medicine. Any individual or organisation may refer to it to see the names of doctors prepared to sign this Declaration.
How is it financed and who started it?
So who/what kicked it off?
Myself, Lachlan Dunjey, a GP in Perth Western Australia since 1968, known to be passionate about such things – passionate about medicine, passionate about the future of medicine and wanting to protect the “traditional” doctor/patient relationship from the things that are threatening it. And when I see such a threat I am an activist. My passion is reflected in the following:
Which was it? the thrill of the chase of the elusive diagnosis? the triumph of solving the puzzle? the entrée into people’s lives? the adventure of saving life? the awe, excitement and responsibility of the birth? the presence during the last illness? The passion was the privilege of being there…
Who do you think will support this Declaration?
I hope all doctors concerned with this drift into compulsion and reducing the doctor/patient relationship to service provider/consumer demand status. It is not in competition with any other body and I think will be attractive to AMA members, non-members, Royal College Members and Fellows, doctors with different belief systems, ethnic backgrounds and training backgrounds. Please pass on your knowledge of this to others.
How do we contact you?
I am hoping there will be no need to! But if you really need to then email me firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you see the future of this Declaration?
I hope it will stand for a 100 years as a bold statement of intent that will serve as a standard for Medicine that will never change, that will never need to change. The preamble and other pages may change but the Declaration need not. I hope as the need is more widely realised that organisations will also assent to the Declaration. I will maintain the site in the immediate future .
Why have you singled out this particular issue?
There are many challenges that medical graduates face depending on the field of medicine they enter. There are scientific challenges, third-world health, public health, research – the list is endless – but the conscience challenge is fundamental to all. In particular if we damage the relationship between the doctor and patient where patient health is our primary goal – our raison d’etre – then all of medicine will have been damaged. I believe this to be the greatest risk to the future of medicine. But you don’t have to agree with me on the seriousness of this – the Declaration is enough.
There are some who say that conscience is inconsistent with good medical practice and scientifically proven medicine – what do you say to this?
We disagree. In our declaration we have included best management decisions and good medical practice and we consider that the weight of evidence is on our side but is often not listened to by those with an opposing view of the value of human life and personhood.
Rather than argue exactly what these terms mean we consider there are times when we must follow what we know to be good medicine according to our ability and judgment and for the benefit of our patients, as the Hippocratic Oath expresses so well:
I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel.