Military Medical Ethics – Scenario Database

Reporting abuse

ID/Number: 47
Last updated: 12 Aug, 2019
Revision: 2
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"Dr. Thompson is a military reservist deployed with a mobile medical field unit in Iraq.
Several weeks into a grueling tour during which a number of American soldiers sustained serious injuries, a young Iraqi man who had been detained for questioning was brought to Dr. Thompson by the military police (MP). The MP said that the man had been found at a military checkpoint with what appeared to be a broken ankle and asked Dr. Thompson to assess the extent of the injury so that the man could be returned to the detention unit.
During his examination, Dr. Thompson found that the young man had a grossly swollen orbit and bright red welts and lacerations covering his back, in addition to a fractured left ankle. Dr. Thompson strongly suspected that his patient had been beaten by a member of the unit and knew that he should notify the unit commander.
Although he was well aware of international law governing prisoners of war and detainees, and although he had received comprehensive ethics training from the military regarding his duty to report signs of abuse, Dr. Thompson found himself hesitating to make a report."

Source: AMA Journal of Ethics. Virtual Mentor. October 2007, Volume 9, Number 10: 676-680.

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This scenario is also listed in the following categories
folder Military Medical Ethics Scenarios -> Dual loyalty and/or mixed obligations -> Conflicting roles
folder Military Medical Ethics Scenarios -> Neutrality of the medical personnel

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