Medics at terror sites must treat the wounded according to the severity of their injuries, even if that means helping an attacker before his victims, the Israeli Medical Association said in rules published this week.
The new rules, formulated by the IMA’s Ethics Bureau, came into effect at the beginning of the week and replace an earlier directive based on the principle of “charity begins at home,” which enabled medical professionals to treat victims first, the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom newspaper reported Wednesday.
The decision to change the directive was made during a heated meeting last week held at the request of Physicians for Human Rights, which appealed to the bureau, claiming the previous rules contradicted accepted medical ethics and international humanitarian laws.
Senior doctors in the IMA told Israel Hayom that the change in guidelines was not publicly announced for fear of a political backlash amid almost daily Palestinian attacks for the past three months.
While Israeli doctors and medical staff see it as an ethical duty to attend to the injuries of terrorists and treat them the same as victims, until the recent change they could give priority when doing triage to victims rather than perpetrators.
Tammy Karni, who heads the ethics panel, said the previous rules required doctors to verify who was an attacker and who was a victim, a sometimes impossible task.
“Doctors are not judges. The implication of leaving the [previous] directive was that the doctor needs to investigate who was responsible and punish him by not giving him treatment,” she told Israel Hayom.
According to the report, the Ethics Bureau is the only body that decides ethical standards for Israeli medical staff and its rulings apply to doctors, paramedics, emergency services and nurses.
Read more at Times of Israel