Medical professionals have a duty of care to relieve suffering and save lives. Although they will occasionally make mistakes, it is rare that someone deliberately participates in wrongdoing. But there are times when carrying out what is perceived as ‘good’ work can end up supporting something bad – a situation known as medical complicity.
For example, while a doctor may not deliberately participate in torturing a prisoner, he or she may be indirectly complicit in torture by agreeing to treat the victim’s wounds so that others can continue to hurt them. Other examples of medical complicity may be less extreme but still pose significant ethical dilemmas for doctors trying to decide on the right thing to do. The EU-funded MEDCOM project aims to provide guidance.