Monday, April 7, 2008
Participate in Torture - Lose your License
The California Senate will be voting on a bill this week that says California regulators would notify physicians in the military that if they participate in torture, they will loose their license to practice medicine and could be prosecuted by the State.
During a Senate committee hearing, there was testimony that cited the International Red Cross, military records and first-person accounts about torture. These reports said physicians, psychologists and nurses licensed by the State of California have participated in torture or its coverup against detainees in U. S. custody.
Dr. Vito Imbascini, state surgeon of the California National Guard testified that "a few Californians were among practitioners in the healing arts involved in torture" at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Bush- with an emphatic "We do not torture" - has defended these interrogation practices as lawful.
I have written before on physicians and torture and there is no doubt that physicians are obliged by oath to refrain from participating in torture or maltreatment of prisoners. The State has jurisdiction over licensees serving in the military or practicing in federal facilities, and revocation of their license to practice medicine is warranted for doctors who participate.
Kudos to the California legislature for tackling a controversial issue that should really not even need to be addressed in an enlightened society.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:14 PM