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Medical Decisions and Ethics in the Military Context

In either a military or civilian context, medical decisions can be divided into three general categories: (1) the decision whether to treat, (2) the decision when to treat, and (3) the decision how to treat. This entry looks at how the difference in the character and practice of military medicine influences these decisions. For medical decision making in a military context, patients are generally divided into two broad categories: (1) military personnel (of one's own nation) and (2) everyone else. This second category includes allied military personnel, prisoners of war, and civilians. This distinction becomes important because there are different considerations governing the decision-making process regarding the treatment of these two groups. For example, international law requires that prisoners of war receive medical care ...

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