When looking at the war against humanity and safety conditions for workers in factories and construction site for the period it would appear that the value of humans life was not that high.
Why then would Patton hitting soldiers who he believed to be cowards be a problem.
"It has come to my attention that a very small number of soldiers are going to the hospital on the pretext that they are nervously incapable of combat. Such men are cowards and bring discredit on the army and disgrace to their comrades, whom they heartlessly leave to endure the dangers of battle while they, themselves, use the hospital as a means of escape. You will take measures to see that such cases are not sent to the hospital but dealt with in their units. Those who are not willing to fight will be tried by court-martial for cowardice in the face of the enemy.
— Patton directive to the Seventh Army, 5 August 1943"