The ethical challenges of providing medical care to civilians during armed conflict
Michael L. Gross
Health care in contexts of risk, uncertainty, and hybridity
Cham : Springer, 2022
During asymmetric war, state armies must care for their local allies, detainees and the civilian population in two contexts: acute care for those wounded during military operations and medical care for the general population as required by the Geneva Conventions. Constrained by scarce resources, state armies face a number of moral dilemmas that affect care on the ground. The author first adresses the first step of triage, noting that the inability to provide high-level care to all creates tensions with local civilians and host country allies. Second, he examines how the requirement to "ensure the medical needs of the civilian populations" by occupying armies is translated into practice. He concludes by looking into the issue of 'medical diplomacy'. Medical care is a long-established tool to win the hearts and minds of the local population. Since the Vietnam War, however, critics have charged that medical diplomacy subverts the purpose of medicine, places medical personnel in the service of war and provides poor medical care.
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