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Bioethics in humanitarian disaster relief operations: a military perspective
  1. James Davies1,
  2. A Brockie2 and
  3. J Breeze1
  1. 1 Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Headquarters Joint Hospital Group, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj James Davies, Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK; james.davies47{at}


The ethical dilemmas faced every day by military personnel working within the NHS will potentially be very different to ones that will be faced in the wake of a humanitarian disaster. Allied to this the potentially differing objectives from military personnel when compared with other healthcare workers in these scenarios and a conflict of ethics could arise.

Within this paper, the fundamentals of this conflict will be explored and how working within the military framework can affect clinical decisions. This is a paper commissioned as a part of the humanitarian and disaster relief operations special issue of BMJ Military Health.

  • ethics (see medical ethics)
  • medical ethics
  • risk management
  • international health services

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  • Contributors The article was written by JD and based largely on a talk created by AB for the military. JB had a large role in the editorial and draft process and contributed directly to the main text. It was reviewed by both JB and AB.

  • 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.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.