Military Medical Ethics – Scenario Database

Innovative treatment method on local kid

ID/Number: 110
Last updated: 09 Aug, 2019
Revision: 1
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"In 1955, Dr Millard was serving in Korea with the US Army. By this point in his career he was already very competent in the cleft lip repair techniques of the day. He also realized their shortcomings and had devised a way to improve outcomes based on solid surgical principles. I will paraphrase his description of how he obtained one of his first patients. He saw a young boy with a cleft lip near his camp and he lassoed the boy, took him back to the camp, and under general anesthesia and without parental permission, the first rotation-advancement flap was performed (cf. Millard 1976). The surgery went well, and it was only days before he had more cleft lip patients than he could care for show up at the camp."

Source: '
Case description taken from:
Jackson B. Taylor (forthcoming): Innovation or Experimentation? Experiences from a military surgeon. In Ethics of Medical Innovation, Experimentation, and Enhancement in Military and Humanitarian Contexts. Ed by D. Messelken and D. Winkler. Springer, forthcoming.
Additional reference: Millard, D. Ralph (1976), Cleft craft : the evolution of its surgery, 3 vols. (1st edn.; Boston: Little, Brown).

Questions for the discussion of this scenario

1. What do you think about testing a new method on a patient like in the case description?
2. Does the good result justify the test of the new method?

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