Charting an Ethical Course in Conflict Zones

Report Cover: Syrian surgeon at work in conflict zone © cosimoattanasio/Redline/Shutterstock
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© cosimoattanasio/Redline/Shutterstock

In violent contexts like Syria, frontline health workers face wrenching ethical decisions.
When a hospital is bombed, leaders have to decide whether to move to a safer location—possibly decreasing access to care in the area. Heightening the ethical challenge, local communities may be placed at greater risk, and thus oppose the hospital’s reopening.
Humanitarian organizations need to develop processes to address such questions, but they’ve had little guidance—a gap experts at Johns Hopkins University, the International Rescue Committee and the Syrian American Medical Society hope to correct. They advise committing time, resources and regular training to address ethical issues, and creating a process to record and disseminate decisions.

Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human RIghts, the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, the International Rescue Committee, and the Syrian American Medical Society

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