Advances in medical capability should be accompanied by discussion of their ethical implications. In the military medical context there is a growing interest in developing prophylactic interventions that will mitigate the effects of trauma and improve survival. The ethics of this novel capability are currently unexplored. This paper describes the concept of trauma prophylaxis (Left Of Bang Interventions in Trauma) and outlines some of the ethical issues that need to be considered, including within concept development, research and implementation. Trauma prophylaxis can be divided into interventions that do not (type 1) and those that do (type 2) have medical enhancement as an unintended side effect of their prophylactic action. We conclude that type 1 interventions have much in common with established military medical prophylaxis, and the potentially enhancing qualities of type 2 interventions raise different issues. We welcome further debate on both interventions.
- military medicine
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