Doctors and preventing torture

John Taylor: November 05, 20070 Comments

Medical schools evidently don't put enough stress on rules of the Geneva Conventions.


A survey of 1,700 students in eight medical schools included the following "yes" or "no" questions, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Would you: threaten to inject a detainee with psychotropic drugs, without intending to actually do so? Inject a harmless saline solution into a detainee while saying it was lethal? Kill a detainee with an injection? Six percent said they would do all three; more than 25% said they'd do the first two.


The Geneva Conventions and the American Medical Association say all three actions are wrong, the story said. The survey by Dr. J. Wesley Boyd of Cambridge Health Alliance also found that 94% of medical students spent less than an hour on rules in the Geneva Conventions, even though 70% of U.S. military docs come from med schools.


So, if there is no push-back on torture by some doctors, what should Joe Sixpack patient expect if an HMO tries to throw up roadblocks to his doctor who's ordered an expensive treatment?