Time to act against medical collusion in punitive amputations

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 26 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1277
  1. Adebayo Adejumo (, psychologist,
  2. Prisca Olabisi Adejumo, medical sociologist
  1. Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Canada
  2. College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

    Punitive surgical amputations are a negation of the basic principles and ethics of surgery taught in medical schools. Media reports show a frightening picture. For example, in Iraq a physician who worked in a Baghdad hospital in 1994 estimated that 1700 amputations had been performed on army deserters between August and mid-September 1994 (Daily Telegraph 1994 Nov 1: 21). This physician reported that procedures were often done without anaesthesia and that the risk of infection was high because of poor hygiene. Another physician in Iraq participated in an ear amputation while the patient was tied to a bed. In northern Nigeria the amputation of the hand of a cow thief, Buba Jangebe, as sharia punishment for cow theft was carried out within the purview of physicians ( On 28 February 1998 four doctors in Kabul performed amputations on two men before a …

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