CHESTCHEST NewsStatement on Protection and Safety of Health Care Workers

Statement on Protection and Safety of Health Care Workers

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) stands behind International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which defines the protection and safety that must be afforded to all health workers and their patients in times of conflict. These include:

  • Rapid and unimpeded passage of medical and humanitarian aid during armed conflicts

  • Freedom of movement for medical and humanitarian workers in conflict areas

  • The protection of civilians, including medical and humanitarian workers

  • The protection of refugees, prisoners, the wounded, and the sick

Upholding humanitarian standards during armed conflict is a longstanding practice, not restricted to one custom, religion, nation, people, or time. To abandon this principle is to abandon the medical and health care workers who pledged with their very lives to care for the wounded and the sick without consideration for themselves or their loved ones.

We implore all nations and groups engaged in conflict today and in the future to adhere to International Humanitarian Law. We ask their leaders to protect the individuals whose primary responsibilities are to render aid and healing to all without prejudice and to ensure medical facilities are kept operational, supplies safeguarded, and transportation of the injured unimpeded.

Guided by our commitment to community and integrity, CHEST will continue to advocate for unimpeded access to health care for all people at all times and ask that our members use their voices to do the same.