Saturday, July 02, 2005

Bravo, Dr. Lee!

Hoping that human rights and medical ethics are nonpartisan values, I'd like to point out this Op-Ed from the Washington Post by the physician to President George H. W. Bush, Burton J. Lee III: The Stain of Torture. Dr. Lee is on the board of directors of Physicians for Human Rights. Ripping off some of his very fine prose,

As I have studied reports of torture throughout our troubled world since then [1963], I have always found comfort in knowing that at least it did not occur here, not among Americans.

Now that comfort is shattered. Reports of torture by U.S. forces have been ccompanied by evidence that military medical personnel have played a role in this abuse and by new military ethical guidelines that in effect authorize complicity by health professionals in ill-treatment of detainees. These new guidelines distort traditional ethical rules beyond recognition to serve the interests of interrogators, not doctors and detainees.

I urge my fellow health professionals to join me and many others in reaffirming our ethical commitment to prevent torture; to clearly state that systematic torture, sanctioned by the government and aided and abetted by our own profession, is not acceptable. As health professionals, we should support the growing calls for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, and demand restoration of ethical standards that protect physicians, nurses, medics and psychologists from becoming facilitators of abuse.


Amen. Check out the article to see his powerful final paragraph. The biggest tragedy is that these things even have to be said in today's America.

3 Comments:

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is your proof of said torture by Medical professionals?

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Dr. DeFACCto said...

Look at this from the NEJM: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/353/1/6.
It's pretty clear that healthcare professionals took an active role in the interrogation process. Whether physicians were involved is not stated.

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger : Joseph j7uy5 said...

FOr more links, if one really can stomach more evidence, see my earlier post here:

http://trots.blogspot.com/2005/06/physician-involvement-in-military.html

 

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