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Posts Tagged ‘Hippocratic Oath’

Oath of Torture

Posted by terres on April 9, 2009

Back in the old days, doctors normally didn’t torture!

We’ve heard of “doctors without borders”; perhaps what the world really needs is “doctors WITH limits,” or better still “doctors against doctors who torture.”

Red Cross says doctors helped CIA “torture”

Tue Apr 7, 2009 4:04pm EDT

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI (Reuters) – Health workers violated medical ethics when they helped interrogate terrorism suspects who were tortured at secret CIA prisons overseas, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The medical workers, thought to be doctors and psychologists, monitored prisoners while they were mistreated at CIA prisons and advised interrogators whether to continue, adjust or halt the abuse, the ICRC said in a report based on interviews with 14 prisoners in 2007.

One prisoner alleged that medical personnel monitored his blood oxygen levels while he was subjected to waterboarding, a simulated drowning designed to induce panic and widely considered [!] to be torture, the ICRC said.

Other prisoners said that as they stood shackled with their arms chained above their heads, a doctor regularly measured the swelling in their legs and signaled when they should be allowed to sit down.

The ICRC interviewed 14 men who had been held in secret CIA prisons overseas before being sent to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.

The 14 are considered by the United States to be “high-value” al Qaeda suspects who plotted or carried out mass murders, including the September 11 attacks and the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. They had been held by the CIA, most for more than three years, in extreme isolation and had not been allowed contact with each other when the ICRC interviewed them at Guantanamo in November 2007.

The ICRC said their claims had credence because they gave similar accounts of their treatment, including the actions of medical monitors whose names they never learned.

The ICRC monitors compliance with the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war captives and keeps its reports secret, sharing them only with the detaining government.

The report, written in 2007, was posted on the New York Review of Books website on Monday night by journalist Mark Danner, who has not said publicly how he obtained it.

“VIOLATED ETHICAL DUTY”

He first published excerpts last month, including a portion in which the ICRC concluded the al Qaeda captives’ treatment in the CIA prisons “constituted torture” and violated international law.

The report alleges collars were placed around some prisoners’ necks and used to slam their heads against the walls, and that they were forced to stand with their arms shackled above them for two or three days and left to urinate or defecate on themselves.

The prisoners told the ICRC they were beaten and kicked, left naked for long periods, subjected to sleep deprivation, loud music, cold temperatures, rape threats and forced shaving. Some said they were denied solid food unless they cooperated with interrogators and one said he was confined in a crouching position in a box too short to stand in.

A previously undisclosed portion of the report concluded that medical workers who monitored or took part in the interrogations had violated their ethical duty to do no harm, preserve dignity and act in patients’ best interest.

The ICRC said “any interrogation process that requires a health professional to either pronounce on the subject’s fitness to withstand such a procedure, or which requires a health professional to monitor the actual procedure, must have inherent health risks.”

“As such, the interrogation process is contrary to international law and the participation of health personnel in such a process is contrary to international standards of medical ethics,” the ICRC concluded.

The “high-value” captives quoted in the report are still at the Guantanamo prison, which President Barack Obama has ordered shut down by January 2010, and debate continues over what should be done with them.

A military judge released a statement last month in which some of them bragged that they were “terrorists to the bone”.

Bush administration officials have said the “enhanced interrogation” of those prisoners produced information that helped thwart attacks but have never provided specifics.

(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Jackie Frank) – copyright Reuters

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Posted in enhanced interrogation, Guantanamo prison, GW Bush, war on terror, waterboarding | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Health Business in Uninted States of Sheepland

Posted by terres on May 6, 2008

The Sorry State of Health Care in the United States

By Ralph Nader

This is a tale of pay or die that recurs again and again all over our country and only in our country in the entire western world.

Advised by her physician to go to M.D. Anderson for urgent treatment of her leukemia, Mrs. Kelly was told she had to pay $105,000 up front before being admitted. The hospital declared her limited insurance unacceptable.

Sitting in the business office with seriously advanced cancer, she asked herself – “Are they going to send me home?” “Am I going to die?”

Time out from her torment for a moment. M.D. Anderson started this upfront payment demand in 2005 because of a spike in its bad debt load.

The Journal explains – “The bad debt is driven by a larger number of Americans who are uninsured or who don’t have enough insurance to cover costs if catastrophe strikes. Even among those with adequate insurance, deductibles and co-payments are growing so big that insured patients also have trouble paying hospitals.”

It isn’t as if non-profit hospitals like M.D. Anderson are hurting. Look at this finding in an Ohio State University study: net income per bed at non-profit hospitals tripled to $146,273 in 2005 from $50,669 in 2000. And you also may have noticed the huge pay packages awarded hospital executives.

M.D. Anderson, exempt from taxation, recipient of funds from large government programs and research grants has cash, investments and endowment totaling $1.9 billion, with net income of $310 million last year, the Journal reports.


A twelfth-century Byzantine manuscript of the Hippocratic Oath in the form of a cross dagger.

Hippocratic Oath Modern Version written by Louis Lasagna, former Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences of Tufts University, in 1964.

Back to the 52 year old, Lisa Kelly. She and her husband returned with a check for $45,000. After a blood test and biopsy, the hospital oncologist urged admittance quickly. Then the hospital demanded an additional $60,000-$45,000 just for the lab tests and $15,000 for part of the cost of the treatment.

To shorten the story, she received chemotherapy for over a year. Often her appointment was “blocked” until she made another payment.

In a particularly grotesque incident, she was hooked up to a chemotherapy pump, but the nurses were not allowed to change the chemo bag until Mr. Kelly made another payment.

She endured other indignities and overcharges. Reporter Martinez cites $360 for blood tests that insurers pay $20 or less for and up to $120 for saline pouches that cost less than $2 retail.

Imagine anything like Mrs. Kelly’s predicament and pressures occurring in Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland, England or any other western country. It would never happen.

These countries have universal single payer health insurance. No one dies because they cannot afford health care. In America, 18,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Many more get sick or become sicker.

None of these countries spend more than 11% of their GDP on healthcare. The U.S. spends over 16% of its GDP on health care and does not cover 47 million people and tens of millions are under covered

In the U.S. the drug companies charge their highest prices in the world, even though we, the taxpayers, subsidized them in large ways. In other countries like Mexico and Canada, they cannot get away with such drug price gouging, with a pay or die ultimatum.

In the U.S., computerized billing fraud and abuse cost over $200 billion last year, according to the GAO arm of Congress. In other counties, single payer prevents such looting.

In other countries, administrative expenses of their single payer system are about a third of what the Aetna’s and other insurers rack up.

In other western countries, medical outcomes for children and adults and paid family leave are far superior to that of the U.S. The World Health Organization ranks the US health care system 37th in the world.

When apologists in Washington hear these statistics, they say “but we have the best medical research centers in the world, like M.D. Anderson.”

Clearly much is wrong with the nature of pricing health care.

Like other hospitals, M.D. Anderson is caught in a macabre spider’s web of cost allocations mixing treatment costs with research budgets, cash reserves, and just plain accounting gimmicks that burden patients. (Documents from Mrs. Kelly’s case are available at http://online.wsj.com today.)

When a friend showed the Journal’s article to a Dutch visitor, the latter blurted in anger – “you are a nation of sheep.” Not a very flattering description of “the land of the free, home of the brave.”

Someday, soon maybe, Americans will finally band together and say “enough already,” we’re going for full Medicare for all- without loopholes for corporate profiteers and purveyors of waste and fraud.

Last month after being in remission, Lisa Kelly’s leukemia has come back.

END.

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Posted in bush, cabal, Congress, corporate profiteering, corporate racketeering, corruption, human rights, medical care, military budget, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »