A transition from healer to murderer

Colaianni, Alessandra. “A long shadow: Nazi doctors, moral vulnerability and contemporary medical culture.” Journal of medical ethics, vol 38, no. 7, pp. 435-8, 2012,  doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100372. Full text.

Abstract: More than 7% of all German physicians became members of the Nazi SS during World War II, compared with less than 1% of the general population. In so doing, these doctors willingly participated in genocide, something that should have been antithetical to the values of their chosen profession.

The participation of physicians in torture and murder both before and after World War II is a disturbing legacy seldom discussed in medical school, and under-recognised in contemporary medicine. Is there something inherent in being a physician that promotes a transition from healer to murderer? With this historical background in mind, the author, a medical student, defines and reflects upon moral vulnerabilities still endemic to contemporary medical culture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s