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May 29, 2019

Protecting Surgeons and Patients During Wars and Armed Conflicts: Importance of Predeployment Training on the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law

Author Affiliations
  • 1Medical student, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 2Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 3Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC
  • 4Department of Surgery, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Surg. 2019;154(8):683-684. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.0041

The post–World War II world has witnessed dramatic changes every 10 to 15 years in both the causes of major humanitarian crises and the resulting need for global resources.1 Current wars and armed conflicts have caused the loss of countless lives, greater than 90% civilian, and ravaged the most vulnerable populations, including women, children, elderly people, and those with disabilities due to trauma, malnutrition, and infectious diseases, and have also destroyed health and public health systems.1 The current risks to health care workers, hospital staffs, nongovernmental organizations, and humanitarian organizations from targeted attacks are unprecedented in the history of modern conflict.2 Deaths of humanitarian workers significantly outnumber those of United Nations peacekeepers.3

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