Military Medical Ethics – Scenario Database

Saving lifes – do they want to live with the results of their injuries?

ID/Number: 105
Last updated: 08 Feb, 2019
Revision: 1
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Medical care in the field, medical evacuation, and care in the hospital has progressed to achieve injury survival rates that were unheard of in the past.

Along with these positive survival rates it is now possible to save the lives of service members that have devastating injuries, injuries that will profoundly change their lives and the lives of their family member forever.

As result, a military surgeon wonders: "Would these injured men and women would want to survive this way? Obviously we provided the best care we could but we provided it, often knowing that if we were in the same situation, we might not want to live with the profound disabilities that the injured person we were treating was going to be forced to live with."

Source: Report from Course Participant

Questions for the discussion of this scenario

1. What do you think about the reflection of the surgeon?
2. (How) Can such quality-of-life questions be discussed in advance?
3. What other issues are at stake in cases like this?

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Quality of Life Level of care