accessibility & help

War wounded

Learning objectives

By the end of the activity students will be able to:

  • describe what acting with humanity during an armed conflict might entail
  • explain why it is important that the laws of war require warring parties to provide medical help to the injured
  • say where their nearest hospital with an accident and emergency department is, and be able to direct someone to it.Examine the figures in this photograph and try to imagine what is going through their minds. 

Quick activity

The man on the left is Sgt Tyrone Jordan, a US army medic. He is giving first aid to a man who has been shot, while evacuating him to a medical centre.

The man on the right is Marine LCpl. Kristopher Brown. He is guarding the patient who, as well as being injured, is also an enemy prisoner.

The photograph was taken aboard a helicopter on September 29, 2010 near Marja in southern Afghanistan

  • The laws of war say that warring parties must give medical help to the injured - whichever side of the conflict they were on, and whether they were combatants or civilians. Discuss why this is such an important principle. What does acting with humanity mean during conflict?
  • Imagine that the injured man recovered. What will happen to him? Use reference books or the internet to find out what rights prisoners of war have. Being visited and being able to send a message helps reduce other people's suffering. Whose suffering, and how?

Take action

Reducing the delay between injury and receiving medical help dramatically increases the chance of survival. Do an audit of your own skills and knowledge, and the circumstances in the local area, trying to find ways to speed up the medical help for any possible injury.

  • For instance, do you know where the nearest hospital is with an A&E department?
  • Can you quickly and efficiently direct someone to it?
  • Are there any places nearby earmarked for emergency vehicle access that are regularly blocked?
  • Does everyone know the basics of first aid?


This teaching resource was written by PJ White and first published in October 2010. It was reviewed in January 2013.


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