Monday, June 7, 2010

Docs in the torture chamber?

The NYTimes reports on a statement from Physicians for Human Rights regarding the roles of medical personnel during C.I.A. waterboarding sessions. The accusation is that the doctors and others were engaging in illicit research on human subjects. The doctors were monitoring the prisoners during waterboarding and making suggestions as to how to increase and "calibrate" the "effectiveness" of the techniques.
That meant that the medical professionals crossed the line from treating the detainees as patients to treating them as research subjects, the report asserted.

Seems to me that calling it "research" can be misleading; these were not laboratory conditions, and no one seems eager to publish any "findings."

But the point is well made: these doctors are not treating patients. They are advising and assisting in the torture of prisoners. Somehow, I don't think that's in keeping with the Hippocratic Oath.

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