Ever Wonder How Military Law and Ethics Impacts the Military Medical Officer?

Providing medical care for soldiers has been a hallmark of civilization and dates as far back as Ancient Egypt. Fundamentals of Military Medicine defines military medicine as the application of medical art and science in a military setting. The medical doctor and military officer are two of the most prestigious professions in the United States. Military Medical Officers (MMO) are expected to be experts in both fields.

This comprehensive reference provides foundations for a medical response within the battlefield of deployed military personnel by land, sea, or air. It also explores the operational, humanitarian, ethical, and strategic roles of military medicine and all officers, including command staff.

MMOs vow to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic and to hold faith and allegiance while also following orders of the President. They must adhere to both medical and military ethical standards. Additionally, MMOs ensure that the medical dimension of law of armed conflict is enforced in accordance to the United States’ obligation to the Geneva Convention. In the chapter covering the “History of the Military Medical Officer,” you will learn about some of the most shocking crimes that were conducted by doctors in Nazi Germany, who ran lethal experiments on human beings. These war crimes led to the development of the Nuremberg Code, the regulation of human medical experiments, and the adoption of the Geneva Convention of 1949.

“Military Law and Ethics,” another important chapter, provides several military law definitions and an overview of the military justice system.  Additionally, there are examples of “civilian” offenses, “uniquely military” offenses, military “catchall” offenses, and war crimes. The chapter goes onto to describe how the military justice system works with command discretion, investigations, mental health evaluation, courts-martial, disciplinary rules unique to public health service officers, and more. The section dedicated to  “Enlisted Members” narrates a brief history of the enlisted members in military medicine. Outlines are provided of the rank structure for military service personnel across America’s military branches, such as Junior Enlisted promotions to the Noncommissioned or Petty Officer.  This chapter also includes an overview of medical training of the enlisted personnel, such as laboratory equipment and diagnostic services, nursing and specialty medical care across many areas such as surgery, respiratory, preventive medicine, veterinary, and more.

Task Force Marauder participates in mass casualty exercise. Image from publication (by Capt. Jessica Donnelly).

Fundamentals of Military Medicine provides an in-depth look at various aspects of healthcare that the military prioritizes and includes dedicated chapters within this authoritative volume. Some of these include military law and ethics, physical fitness, performance nutrition, environmental extremes, psychological well-being, recovery, injury prevention, spiritual fitness, family readiness, tactical medicine, CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive) threats, and more.

The topics in this book serve as an introduction and as a broad overview of the responsibilities of America’s Military Medical Corps. This authoritative work may appeal most to people interested in military medicine and for medical students who want to explore a career in military medicine.

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About the authorBlogger contributor Vanathy Senthilkumar is a Systems Librarian in the Library Service and Content Management department of GPO.


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