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CMAJ. 2010 October 19; 182(15): 1647.
PMCID: PMC2952016

Getting them off the battlefield

I read, with interest and compassion, the article lamenting some of the horrible urogenital (and other) injuries sustained by military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.1 What’s missing is any mention of the thousands of civilians injured in the conflict and how often military personnel attempt to help them (or not, and why not). What might become of the whole campaign if more military physicians took the Hippocratic position of “primum non nocere” hinted at by the executive from the American Urology Association who stated that urologists are saying, “I’m not seeing a way of helping these patients short of getting them off the battlefield.”1 Imagine doing so, prophylactically, for all the people deemed in danger of such injuries. Why not? Imagine …


Competing interests: Vietnam War resister; former US Navy reserve clinical clerk; board member, Physicians for Global Survival.

For the full letter, go to:


1. Woodward C, Eggertson L. Homemade bombs and heavy urogenital injuries create new medical challenges. CMAJ. 2010;182:1159–60. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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