Doctors Complicit in Torture

Andrew Sullivan at Time reviews Stephen Miles' book, Oath Betrayed, about doctors who violated the Hippocratic oath by helping to coverup torture of prisoners in Iraq.

Sullivan concludes

After a while, you get numb reading these stories. They read like accounts of a South American dictatorship, not an American presidency. But we learn one thing: once you allow the torture of prisoners for any reason, as this President did, the cancer spreads. In the end it spreads to healers as well, and turns them into accomplices to harm.

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    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:19:00 AM EST
    i know the hippocratic oath isn't legally binding, but isn't the act of overtly helping to cause intentional pain and suffering a violation of the code of ethics? shouldn't these people have their licenses revoked, by their state medical boards?

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:35:11 AM EST
    If we don't get a handle on this administration soon, the term "South American Dictatorship" is going to change to "American Dictatorship"... or to "North American Dictatorship", since the dictatorships of South America are on the wane. What in blazes is WRONG with everybody? This fascist regime needs people to carry out their killing and torturing and illegal spying. How can there be so many who are willing to do all this? Lt. Ehren Watada seems to be the only one paying attention.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:44:26 AM EST
    Let's start with revoking the torturer in chief's license first. Next deal with the scrambled eggs. We can deal with the zombie doctors next...community service. perhaps? And then, what to do with Sully and his colleagues who have no shortage of blood on their own hands?

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#4)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:45:09 AM EST
    We're reminded every day that the regime change true believers can be counted on to consistently downplay or excuse any barbarism in the name of their percieved greater good; finding a few Mengele-types to go along with "the program", unfortunatly probobly isnt as difficult as some might think. Just look at all the priests,pastors, ethicists, etc around the U.S that have completely lost their nerve and sat on their hands while all this has been going on these last few years.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#5)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 12:04:41 PM EST
    War is the ultimate slippery slope. The elevation of scoundrals and sociopaths to positions of power, murder, torture, thievery, lies masquerading as ideals all come to the surface like slag in a smelting furnace.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 12:05:03 PM EST
    This is truly Heart of Darkness stuff. Rumsfeld playing CYA by ordering that military doctors should be involved in monitoring torture illustrates the depths of depravity, immorality, and just plain evil by any standards that this administration has sunk to. There is no defense for this.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#7)
    by jen on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 02:40:01 PM EST
    So, when these reserve doctors come home, do you want them working on you? Your family?

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#8)
    by Al on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 03:01:39 PM EST
    Of course those "medical doctors" should be drummed out of the profession at the very least. The medical profession should be at the forefront of the defense of basic human rights by refusing to collaborate with violators. In fact, I would like to see all professions take a Hippocratic Oath, vowing to use their knowledge only to the good of others, never to do harm, directly or indirectly, or participate in actions that cause harm. Perhaps this is the way to defend democracy and freedom. Just like many people are asking themselves what they can do personally to protect the environment or to reduce carbon emissions, we should ask ourselves, what can I do personally to protect freedom. And especially professionals -- medical doctors, scientists, engineers, lawyers -- could be held accountable by their professional associations.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#9)
    by Sailor on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 05:27:18 PM EST
    At a meeting in Chicago on Monday, the AMA's House of Delegates adopted guidelines that make it unethical for physicians -- AMA members or not -- to use their medical knowledge to interrogate prisoners, deeming all such operations inherently coercive and adversarial.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 05:44:06 PM EST
    coercive and adversarial coercive and adversarial? Gee, nice to see them using such strong language, and not afraid to offend anyone who likes torturing. unethical? None of the AMA members would have known that? :-/

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 10:23:33 PM EST
    Of the 136 documented deaths of prisoners in detention, Miles found, medical death certificates were often not issued until months or even years after the actual deaths. One prisoner's corpse at Camp Cropper was kept for two weeks before his family or criminal investigators were notified. The body was then left at a local hospital with a certificate attributing death to "sudden brainstem compression." The hospital's own autopsy found that the man had died of a massive blow to the head. Another certificate claimed a 63-year-old prisoner had died of "cardiovascular disease and a buildup of fluid around his heart." According to Miles, no mention was made that the old man had been stripped naked, doused in cold water and kept outside in 40° cold for three days before cardiac arrest.
    This is what the wingnuts refer to as fraternity hazing/panties on the head, etc. etc. Sick soul-less bastards.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:33:17 AM EST
    Any citizen of a state where a physician is licensed may file a complaint against that physician (best done in writing for the record) with the medical licensing authority of that state. Allegations of medical misconduct thought to be substantive and apparantly supported by objective facts will be formally investigated by the licensing authority. Unethical conduct by a physician would be grounds for sanction and a permanent blot on that physcian's record which has very serious implications when they apply for licensing in other states, hospital admitting privileges and tort claims insurance coverage. In my opinion, as a health professional, any military physician who actively or passively participates in the torture or intentionally abusive and coercive treatment of prisoners should pay the price for their unethical conduct.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:47:13 AM EST
    Can someone more versed in this explain to me why it is not acceptable to simply start posting the names, addresses and professional relationships of the medical professionals involved in this misconduct on some sort of registry, independent of trying to get state regulatory officials to yank their licenses? My experience with regulatory officials is that, beyond being captured by the communities/entities/professions they are supposed to regulate, they are also entirely too slow. Or, to paraphrase Commodore Vanderbilt to a competitor: "Law's too slow. I'll ruin you."

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:55:05 PM EST
    It is true that medical licensing bodies are slow, but rightfully so. These State governmental bodies have the God-like power to deprive a physician of his/her hard earned means to earn a living. They must strictly adhere to the standards of due process. In my limited firsthand experience with two state Boards of Medical Examiners they required what seemed to me to be an exceedingly long time to investigate and reach decisions against a physician in cases in which I was a complainant and informant.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:59:30 PM EST
    I haven't read the book yet. Does anyone know if it actually provides names of physicians who are alleged to be complicit in torture of prisoners?

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#16)
    by jen on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:07:53 PM EST
    The book should be out tomorow. (tuesday the 27th)

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#17)
    by farmergiles on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 06:32:24 PM EST
    No, the Hippocratic is not a legal obligation. It's a moral one.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#18)
    by jen on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 07:47:52 PM EST
    My main complaint is that the military leadership is ordering soldiers, even DOCTORS to do immoral, unethical things. To bring discredit upon themselves, their units and their branch of service. And if they are caught they are called bad apples and sent to prison. Where is the leadership. Where is the backbone of the senior officer corps.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#19)
    by soccerdad on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 07:53:46 PM EST
    Complaints about American prisons and torture after the days of Saddam, Uday and Qasay and their prisons remind me of the person who is so busy seeing the speck in my eye that he cannot see the log in his own eye.
    The usual relative moralism.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 07:55:16 PM EST
    Rogan - So we're on a selfless, humanitarian crusade. Is that it? That would explain why you and your compatriots go on and on about the human rights travesties in places like China and Mynamar. To simply remain silent any longer would be unconscionable.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:01:32 PM EST
    Interesting "my" and "his" symbolism Rogan the Just has going there. The old monkey boy wid us 'r agin' us meme. In other words, if you have problems with the U.S prison system, you're some kind of traitor.

    Re: Doctors Complicit in Torture (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:42:48 PM EST
    "Bush bashing" Now that's original. You implied that ones focusing on U.S mistreatment of prisoners had the "log" of Saddams record in their eye, while you have a "speck". What does that imply but that those who criticize the U.S are siding with Saddam? Bush bashing. lol