Medical Ethics in Extreme and Austere Environments

Christian S. Pingree, Travis R. Newberry, K. Christopher McMains, G. Richard Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


American society has a history of turning to physicians during times of extreme need, from plagues in the past to recent outbreaks of communicable diseases. This public instinct comes from a deep seated trust in physician duty that has been earned over the centuries through dedicated and selfless care, often in the face of personal risks. As dangers facing our communities include terroristic events physicians must be adequately prepared to respond, both medically and ethically. While the ethical principles that govern physician behavior—beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and social justice—are unchanging, fundamental doctrines must change with the new risks inherent to terroristic events. Responding to mass casualty disasters caused by terrorists, natural calamities, and combat continue to be challenging frontiers in medicine. Preparing physicians to deal with the consequences of a terroristic disease must include understanding the ethical challenges that can occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-356
Number of pages12
JournalHEC Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Combat ethics' military medical ethics
  • Disaster relief
  • Extreme environment
  • Physician training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Medical Ethics in Extreme and Austere Environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this