Ethical Dilemmas for Physicians in Time of War
The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ 2010 Mar; 12(3): 133-5
During times of war, physicians are sometimes faced with the conflict of their professional duties to ensure the ethical principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, patient autonomy, and self-determination, within the framework of the proper ethical conduct in the practice of medicine, and the obligation and duties placed upon the physician by the state in times of war. Many ethical dilemmas may occur for the physician on the battlefield or elsewhere in the war region, including the treatment of detainees and the priority of treating wounded enemy soldiers or civilians first. When physicians are faced with a conflict between following state or national policies and following international principles of humanitarian law and medical ethics, the physician should opt for the latter. Physicians should not participate in any way in human rights abuses of detainees or prisoners when deployed in a war zone. Physicians must maintain the principles and standards and ethical considerations of their noble profession at all times.
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