Monday, November 4, 2013

Torture violates medical ethics

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. Repeatedly.
A group of experts in medicine, law and ethics has issued a blistering report that accuses the United States government of directing doctors, nurses and psychologists, among others, to ignore their professional codes of ethics and participate in the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq.
The report was published Monday by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, an ethics group based at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Open Society Foundations, a pro-democracy group founded by the billionaire George Soros.
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Among the abuses cited in the report are the force-feeding of hunger strikers by pushing feeding tubes into their noses and down their throats. The task force also suggests that medical personnel ignored their duty to report evidence of beatings or torture of detainees, and that the Department of Defense “improperly designated licensed health professionals to use their professional skills to interrogate detainees as military combatants, a status incompatible with licensing.”
The International Red Cross and Physicians for Human Rights came to similar conclusions.

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