Bush et al: Listen to the Physicians!
The alleged behavior of physicians and staff at Guantanamo Bay doing forced feeding of inmates who desire to fast is now stirring unrest in the medical profession. From CNN today: LONDON, England (Reuters) -- More than 250 doctors from seven countries urged the U.S. government on Friday to abandon force-feeding and the use of restraints on hunger strikers at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. ..."We urge the U.S. government to ensure that detainees are assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such as force-feeding and restraint chairs are abandoned," the doctors said in an open letter published in The Lancet medical journal.
Further, the American Medical Association in a open statement today wrote:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 10, 2006
Statement attributable to: Duane Cady, M.D. Chair, American Medical Association
“The AMA has shared with U.S. military officials its position on hunger strikes or feeding individuals against their will. Specifically, the AMA endorses the World Medical Association's Declaration of Tokyo, which states: ‘Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially. The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician.’
The American Medical Association is the largest professional organization of physicians in the United States, however, we are not a regulatory or licensing agency. Over the past year, the AMA has met with the Department of Defense to voice our concerns, provide them with relevant policies, and offer our expertise with the goal of ensuring that U.S. policies on detainee treatment comport with ethical standards of medicine. The AMA will continue to advocate for treatment of all detainees in U.S. custody to be in accordance with our Code of Medical Ethics and the Geneva Conventions. Our physician colleagues in the military, many of whom are placed in difficult, sometimes dangerous situations, deserve nothing less.”
Mr. Bush and the others in the administration, I would strongly suggest before the Guantanamo issue becomes even more painful to you and to the ethical appearance of America to the rest of the world, you should listen to your physicians. ..Maurice.