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.


K said...

You mean "lose their license," surely.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised this bill has not already been a law in effect.
Since torture is the opposite definiation of what people think physicians go to school to do, it shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentance, unless they are treating and healing people tortured by someone else.
There should be no reason to not pass this bill!!! Let us know what happens.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing an important issue and bringing it to the forefront. When we turn our eyes and pretend something is OK, or justify it to suit our beliefs, it diminishes us all. Again, thanks.