IRRC No. 889

Medical ethics in peacetime and wartime: the case for a better understanding

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Health-care workers face ethical dilemmas in their decision-making in every clinical intervention they make. In times of armed conflict the decisions may be different, and the circumstances can combine to raise ethical tensions. This article looks at the tensions in peacetime and in times of armed conflict and examines the types of cases that doctors and other health-care workers will face. It also discusses the common ethical decision-making framework and the role of communication within both clinical care and ethical analysis. Keywords: ethical dilemma, ethical analysis, decision making, consent, confidentiality, communication, trust.

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