Comradery, community, and care in military medical ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medical ethics prohibits caregivers from discriminating and providing preferential care to their compatriots and comrades. In military medicine, particularly during war and when resources may be scarce, ethical principles may dictate priority care for compatriot soldiers. The principle of nondiscrimination is central to utilitarian and deontological theories of justice, but communitarianism and the ethics of care and friendship stipulate a different set of duties for community members, friends, and family. Similar duties exist among the small cohesive groups that typify many military units. When members of these groups require medical care, there are sometimes moral grounds to treat compatriot soldiers ahead of enemy or allied soldiers regardless of the severity of their respective wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Communitarianism
  • Distributive justice
  • Geneva conventions
  • Impartiality
  • Military medical ethics
  • Neutrality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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