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One of the more shocking revelations after the United States government authorized torture post-September 11, 2001 was the involvement of health professionals. Doctors, nurses and medics were silent when prisoners were abused, physicians and psychologists helped design abusive interrogations, and interrogations were monitored by health professionals.
Steve Miles, MD, is a CVT board member and expert on medical ethics, human rights and international health care at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Rosa Garcia-Peltoniemi, PhD, is senior consulting clinician at CVT and has lectured extensively on refugee and torture survivor mental health. In the first of three blog posts, Steve and Rosa discuss how health care professionals worldwide are complicit in torture, as well as how governments try to prevent health professionals from documenting and providing care to victims. Read Part II here and Part III here.
Describe how doctors are complicit in torture.
Steve Miles: Doctors are extensively involved in torture, routinely involved in almost every country. Sometimes they are overseeing torture, sometimes they are keeping prisoners alive who are not supposed to die. Sometimes they’re designing methods that don’t leave scars and often they’re involved in creating false medical records or death certificates to conceal torture. Continue reading