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American Journal of Bioethics.

Saving Life, Limb, and Eyesight: Assessing the Medical Rules of Eligibility During Armed Conflict

Medical rules of eligibility permit severely injured Iraqi and Afghan nationals to receive care in Coalition medical facilities only if bed space is available and their injuries result directly from Coalition fire. The first rule favors Coalition soldiers over host-nation nationals and contradicts the principle of impartial, needs-based medical care. To justify preferential care for compatriots, wartime medicine invokes associative obligations of care that favor friends, family, and comrades-in-arms. Associative obligations have little place in peacetime medical care but significantly affect wartime medicine. The second rule suggests liability for collateral harm that is unsupported by international law and military ethics. Absent liability, there are pragmatic reasons to offer medical care to injured local civilians if it quells resentment and cements support for Coalition forces. In contrast to peacetime medicine, military necessity and associative obligations outweigh distributive principles based on medical need during

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Volume 17, Issue 10
October 2017


Justice and Bioethics: Who Should Finance Academic Publishing? Udo Schuklenk (Joint Editor in Chief) & David Magnus (Editor in Chief)