Tag Archives | Medical Ethics

Medical, Military, and Ethics Experts Say Health Professionals Designed and Participated in Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatment and Torture of Detainees

The documentary “Doctors of the Dark Side” revealed the issues highlighted in the report.

The Institute on Medicine as a Profession’s press release, below, summarizes the report “Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror“ that is causing a massive stir in the media. Let’s hope it ends up affecting policy…

New York, NY — An independent panel of military, ethics, medical, public health, and legal experts today charged that U.S. military and intelligence agencies directed doctors and psychologists working in U.S. military detention centers to violate standard ethical principles and medical standards to avoid infliction of harm. The Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers (see attached) concludes that since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) and CIA improperly demanded that U.S. military and intelligence agency health professionals collaborate in intelligence gathering and security practices in a way that inflicted severe harm on detainees in U.S.

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Doctors Grow Nose On Man’s Forehead

Reuters (Fair Use)

Reuters (Fair Use)

This is one of those “I have to see it to believe it” headlines, so helpfully this ABC News story has a very convincing photo (at right):

After a Chinese man’s nose was irreparably damaged from infection, his doctors decided to “grow” a second nose on the man’s forehead to replace the original nose.

The patient, identified only as Xiaolian according to Reuters, has his nose damaged from an infection following a car accident. His doctors decided the only way to reconstruct his nose was to surgically form a new one on the 22-year-old’s forehead.

Tissue expanders were placed under the skin and then cut to resemble a nose. According to local media, doctors expect to implant the new nose soon…

[continues at ABC News]… Read the rest

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We Don’t Torture People

Psychologists for Social Responsibility is an independent, non-profit organization that applies psychological knowledge and expertise to promote peace, social justice, human rights, and sustainability. Members are psychologists, students, and other advocates for social change in the United States and around the world. Appalled by the torture program at Guantanamo Bay, they are appealing to other health care professionals to join them in signing a letter of protest addressed to President Obama (below).

One of the main signatories is Martha Davis, director of Doctors of the Dark Side, who has just released this video of actress Mercedes Ruehl and attorney Kristine Huskey in a reprise of ex-CIA Director George Tenet’s extraordinary argument about torture with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes:

Dear Colleagues,

Attached and pasted below is a letter to President Obama that is being sponsored by Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR).

Because the hunger strike at Guantanamo is a medical emergency, and the result of intolerable delays in closing the detention facility, health care professionals and human rights advocates bring a special voice to this crisis.

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The President’s Hunger Strike

Still from "Doctors of the Dark Side"

Still from “Doctors of the Dark Side”

With 100 detainees on hunger strike, some near organ failure or death, the President and media have renewed talk of closing Guantanamo.   This is not the first time detainees have struck to protest their abuse and indefinite detention.   Some, like Ahmed Zuhair (detained without charge 2002-2008), spent years on hunger strike.   In 2005 officials used force and isolation to break the solidarity of the hunger strikers.  Then and now, the reactions of Guantanamo officials have been predictable.   What is different today is the resolve of the hungers strikers and the greater number of Americans sadder and wiser about administration spin on who the detainees are, how they are being treated, and what they deserve.

You wouldn’t know from media coverage of the 2005 hunger strike that there was a crisis in Guantanamo.  Judging from official comments just a few “bad apples” were causing the trouble, and the Command had everything under humane control.… Read the rest

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“It is Indisputable that the United States Engaged in the Practice of Torture”

Still from "Doctors of the Dark Side"

Still from “Doctors of the Dark Side”

For those who have any doubt that the United States government has sanctioned the use of torture in recent years, Ritika Singh, a research assistant at the Brookings Institution, reports for Lawfare that,

The Constitution Project has released the results of its Task Force on Detainee Treatment in the form of this 577-page report—which concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that “the nation’s highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.”

The people who create and run the torture programs are oftentimes doctors, as depicted in the new documentary Doctors of the Dark Side.

Lawfare provides the Statement of the Task Force:

This report of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment is the result of almost two years of intensive study, investigation and deliberation.

The project was undertaken with the belief that it was important to provide an accurate and authoritative account of how the United States treated people its forces held in custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist threat.

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Guantanamo Hunger Striker Tells His Story

SamirThis may be the most important report out of Gitmo ever. If it doesn’t cause Americans to seriously question the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial, what will? (Not to mention the brutal “medical” treatment at the hands of American doctors.) Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call (in Arabic, translated to English):

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here.

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Guantanamo Detainees Brutally Force Fed During Hunger Strike

Forced feeding (still from 'Doctors of the Dark Side')

Up to 130 of the 166 detainees left in Guantanamo are reported to be taking part in a hunger strike with at least 11 being force fed (see also this piece by Chris Hayes at MSNBC).

What is not widely reported is the brutal way that detainees have been force fed by the Guantanamo medical staff, a protocol that appears to be in use now.

As detainee lawyer Ramzi Kassen explains in Doctors of the Dark Side, detainees are strapped in a 5-point restraint chair–dubbed by some detainees the “torture” chair–and large tubes that may be left in for days are jammed down their noses without anesthesia or lubricants. When detainees resist the brutal procedure, they are forcibly extracted from their cells by soldiers in full riot gear at the direction of the medical staff.

Lawyers for the despairing detainees, of whom 86 were approved for release over two years ago, are very worried that their clients will die or be permanently injured in the hunger strike.… Read the rest

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Being A Guinea Pig

Guinea pig injectionI’m getting ready to go to the bank and cash my check and have so many hundred dollar bills that I won’t be able to close my wallet. So what have a been doing for the
last 11 days?

Just hanging out in a dorm like setting, listening to music, browsing the internet. Checking out DVD’s, playing a little pool(which I suck at) a little ping pong. Flirting with nurses.

I am a human Guinea pig. I am being paid to participate in a clinical research trial as a test subject. I’d love to tell you that I am now hallucinating, drooling, talking to myself and covered with hives from all the adverse side effects,but that’s actually not the case.

I feel really good and well rested actually. I’ve had no stress and plenty of time to catch up on my sleep and then some. Its so easy it seems like it must be some kind of scam.… Read the rest

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California Doctors Banned For Unauthorized Human Experiments

Shades of Nazi Germany? Alyssa Newcomb reports for ABC News:

Two University of California at Davis surgeons have been banned from doing human research after they injected bacteria into the head wounds of consenting terminally ill patients without university authorization, according to a letter sent from the school to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The university ordered Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph J. Schrot to immediately “cease and desist” doing the procedure last fall, according to the letter, dated Oct. 17, 2011, obtained by the Sacramento Bee.

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has ordered a review into the actions of Muizelaar, who is chairman of the department of neurological surgery at UC Davis, and Schrot, an assistant professor…

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Spanish Blood Test Can Tell When You’ll Die. Maybe.

Three-dimensional molecular structure of a telomere (G-quadruplex). Credit: Giac83 (CC)

Three-dimensional molecular structure of a telomere (G-quadruplex). Credit: Giac83 (CC)

But do you really want to know? Giles Tremlett reports on the small Spanish biological research company at the center of claims that its blood test can predict the age you will die, for the Guardian:

As a taxi takes me across Madrid to the laboratories of Spain’s National Cancer Research Centre, I am fretting about the future. I am one of the first people in the world to provide a blood sample for a new test, which has been variously described as a predictor of how long I will live, a waste of time or a handy indicator of how well (or badly) my body is ageing. Today I get the results.

Some newspapers, to the dismay of the scientists involved, have gleefully announced that the test – which measures the telomeres (the protective caps on the ends of my chromosomes) – can predict when I will die.

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