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Should we prioritise victims over terrorists in medical triage?
  1. Zohar Lederman Lederman1 and
  2. T C Voo2
  1. 1 Emergency Department, Assuta Samson Hospital, Ashdod, Israel
  2. 2 Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zohar Lederman Lederman, Emergency Department, Assuta Samson Hospital, Ashdod, 7747629, Israel; zoharlederman{at}


Whether injured terrorists should receive equal consideration in medical triage as their victims is a morally and emotionally challenging issue for healthcare providers. Against the conventional approach, some commentators have argued for a ‘victims-first’ principle in which severely injured victims should always be prioritised over an injured terrorist even if the terrorist is worse off based on justice ideas. This paper argues that supporters of ‘victims-first’ fail to sufficiently justify the subversion of the equal rights of terrorists to treatment and the role and professional ethics of healthcare providers in the allocation of scarce medical resources. Accordingly, they fail to substantiate an exceptional approach for emergency medical triage during terror or terror-like attack situations.

  • medical triage
  • terrorist
  • justice
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  • Contributors ZLL and TCV have contributed equally to the drafting, writing and revision of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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