Atul Gawande is horrified at the way medical doctors helped the torturers.
In a series of furious tweets on Wednesday, the New Yorker writer castigated clinicians for their role in helping the CIA carry out torture — and in some cases, effectively doing it themselves.
Reviewing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s newly released report, Gawande points to nearly a dozen individual examples of physicians playing a role in the CIA’s interrogation and treatment of detainees.
For instance, at least five detainees were subjected to forced rectal feeding or rectal rehydration — where CIA torturers infused large amounts of liquids into their rectums — one of the most gruesome parts of the Senate’s report, the Daily Beast‘s Shane Harris concludes.
But those procedures weren’t medically necessary. “It was doctors who devised the rectal infusions ‘as a means of behavior control,’” Gawande says.
And doctors also played a key role in helping detainees get back on their feet – so they could be tortured some more.
I just read Gawande’s series of tweets, and there’s one about doctors okaying forcing someone with broken bones in his foot to stand up for 52 hours.
…the Department of Defense issued a June 2005 memo that spelled out the “medical program principles and procedures for the protection and treatment” of detainees — presumably, a move that should [have] reinforced the need for proper medical care.
Yet on closer scrutiny, the guidelines were ethically “troubling,” Leonard Rubenstein and others wrote in JAMA. They created loopholes that allowed military physicians and other personnel to participate in torture activities, which were authorized by the United States but “absolutely prohibited” by international human rights law.
I hate it when the US flouts international human rights law. It’s shameful. Shameful.