Dual Loyalties in Military Medical Care – Between Ethics and Effectiveness

In Herman Amersfoort, Rene Moelker, Joseph Soeters & Desiree Verweij (eds.), Moral Responsibility & Military Effectiveness. Asser (2013)
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Abstract
Military doctors and nurses, working neither as pure soldiers nor as merely doctors or nurses, may face a ‘role conflict between the clinical professional duties to a patient and obligations, express or implied, real or perceived, to the interests of a third party such as an employer, an insurer, the state, or in this context, military command’. This conflict is commonly called dual loyalty. This chapter gives an overview of the military and the medical ethic and of the resulting dual loyalty problem for medical personnel working in the military. It considers how dual loyalties relate to being a professional, something medical personnel are the paradigmatic examples of, but also something military personnel claim to be. Against that background, the chapter elaborates on the medical rules of eligibility used in Afghanistan, and on the policies concerning military involvement in local healthcare, to see what the existing rules and policies are, and whose interests they serve.
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