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For Immediate Release
April 8, 2014

Ethics in the Military

There are a number of ethical issues involving medical care in the military. This presentation focused the experiences of two nursing students who have military ties.

Story by Lauren Rubadeau, College Communications Intern

Brockport, NY - Recent news headlines have featured the questionable ethical decisions of some United States military officers while on duty. The military takes its ethical responsibilities seriously, and it is taking corrective measures to resolve this issue. Although some decisions may be easier to make than others, officers are faced with the ever-present question, “what is the right thing to do?”

Erika Grattidge ’14 and Michael Michalski '14, both undergraduate students in the Nursing program at The College at Brockport, delivered a Scholars Day presentation on the topic of Ethics in the Military. Erika, a member of the Navy ROTC, discussed the ethics of the triage system in the military, while Michael, an Army veteran, discussed the ethics of being both a soldier and a medic in the military. Erika and Michael ultimately hope to share knowledge and increase awareness of these issues within the medical community of our military.

To prepare for this presentation, Erika and Michael each completed a 10 page research paper and utilized outside knowledge from their personal experiences as members of the military. Erika previously spent a summer in the Middle East on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier and witnessed ethical issues at hand with military triage and medicine, sparking her interest on the topic. Triage, the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition, rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. This is applicable to emergency situations, specifically combat exposed environments because prioritization is needed to provide maximum amount of efficiency in care. However, this becomes an ethical issue because care is based on likelihood of survival, availability of resources, and current state of emergency. Other ethical issues that Erika and Michael discussed included treating the enemy in the US overseas medical facilities, the dual role placed on the medics of opposition to the enemy and treating them simultaneously, and limited spectrum of health care providers that equip the medical facilities.

“This is an opportunity to educate others on a topic very applicable to my life and future,” said Grattidge. “It allows others to form opinions and personal outlooks on the ethical issues at hand while broadening the perspectives on these issues.”

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