New Israeli ethics guidelines call for treating terrorist first in some cases

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Newly issued guidelines call for paramedics at the scene of a terrorist attack to triage the wounded according to the severity of the injury, even if that means treating a terrorist first.

The guidelines, which were drafted by the Israel Medical Association’s Ethics Committee and posted on the organization’s website on Tuesday, are a change from previous guidelines, which called for treating victims first even if the terrorist was more severely injured. Under the new guidelines, the wounded will be triaged solely based on the extent of their injuries.

The guidelines were reexamined after a petition by Physicians for Human Rights, which said the previous guidelines constituted a gross violation of medical ethics and international humanitarian law, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency response organization, told JTA the group has always treated victims solely on the basis of the severity of their injures.

Nevertheless, medical professionals and politicians slammed the new guidelines, according to Israel Hayom.

“In all cases of terrorist attacks, the medical teams should treat the victims and only thereafter the attacker,” Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Ethics Committee of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization and a leading Israeli ethicist, told JTA. “Only in those instances where there is confusion to the extent that it cannot be easily determined who is the terrorist and who is the victim should the medics choose to first treat the most heavily injured.”


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