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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2009 Jun;32(2):271-81. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2009.02.006.

Ethical considerations in military psychiatry.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Medicine, Winn Army Community Hospital, 1061 Harmon Avenue, Fort Stewart, GA 31314, USA. christopher.h.warner@us.army.mil

Abstract

Military psychiatrists are faced with multiple, difficult questions that shape the context for ethical patient care. These questions are difficult to answer and future efforts, including policy and evidence-based treatment practices, should aim at reducing the ambiguity faced by military psychiatrists. New research should focus on issues as diverse as optimal approaches to informed consent, evidence-derived approaches to protecting confidentiality, outcomes of care for individuals in widely varying military roles, and medication use in the field. Training for mental health care providers who deal with military patients should be provided not only in military graduate medical education but also in job-specific courses and in ethics. This should include specific training for personnel who will be dealing with specific populations, such as the US Army's current "Dealing with Detainee course" and the Army Medical Department's "Combat Operational Stress Course" for deploying military psychiatrists and psychologists.

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