HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Dual loyalty in military medical ethics: a moral dilemma or a test of integrity?

Article

This paper explores the concept of loyalty in the armed forces and within the context of medical ethics.

Abstract

When militaries mention loyalty as a value they mean loyalty to colleagues and the organisation. Loyalty to principle, the type of loyalty that has a wider scope, plays hardly a role in the ethics of most armed forces. Where military codes, oaths and values are about the organisation and colleagues, medical ethics is about providing patient care impartially. Being subject to two diverging professional ethics can leave military medical personnel torn between the wish to act loyally towards colleagues, and the demands of a more outward looking ethic. This tension constitutes a test of integrity, not a moral dilemma.

Full Reference

Olsthoorn, P., 2018. Dual loyalty in military medical ethics: a moral dilemma or a test of integrity? Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps.