War, and health

“It is a scar on society that some lives are still deemed more important than others, especially when viewed through a lens distorted by politics, economics, religion, and  history. The percieved worth of a country – including its economic, trading and political value – and the degree of media coverage should not determine the value of the lives of its citizens lost to war”

and

“Just as the UN was founded in the spirit of shared humanity, so was medicine. The Hippocratic Oath and its popular modern equivelents, puts caring for human beings and treating each life as equal at their very heart. Surely it is not just the brave few health professionals in the firing line who have the responsibily for meeting the health needs of civilains injured in conflict… if the Hippocratic Oath means anything, all doctors whatever their situation, speciality or senoirity should live up to their name by calling on their national governments and the international community – perhaps through their national medical organisations – to ensure that civilians injured or affected by conflict recieve the medical attention they need, wherever these people may be in the world. Such action is not being a so-called humanitarian – it is what being a member of the medical profession should be all about.”

As stories about the loss of life in both sides of the conflict emerge, strong words from today’s editorial in the Lancet - and absolutely correct.

Margaret McCartney’s Blog

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A forum on healthcare policy and professional issues, by Glasgow-based GP and FT Weekend columnist Margaret McCartney.

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