Physicians at War
This paper offers a brief examination of ethical health issues arising from military operations and outlines which, if any, of these ethical health issues apply to current Australian Defence Force (ADF) military operations. The transparency of military operations provided through real time global media reporting and the Internet, has raised public awareness of incidents that can be viewed broadly as ethical issues or dilemmas. While many of these issues are not new, it is the changing context of post cold war military operations and scale and demand of humanitarian operations that places new requirements on how the ADF best addresses these potential issues before they become critical incidents. In identifying potential ethical issues arising from military health operations, it is recognized that military health personnel operate within a command and control organizational structure and associated culture. It is also recognized that the complexity of the issues and the environment within which military health personnel are expected to operate will raise ethical health issues not likely to be encountered to the same degree by those health practitioners operating in the average suburban practice or hospital, except when health personnel are confronted with large scale emergencies, such as those encountered with recent terrorist attacks and massacres.
A topic that has thus far not been treated at book length and nowhere nearly as comprehensivelyExtremely timely and highly currentUnique and broad basis for dealing with issues that not only impact on medical ethics, but cut across various spheres of justice in a setting defined by the multiple perspectives of medical, military and legal practiceUnique in its treatment of the subject matter, which hitherto has only been done in a fragmented and isolated manner