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Doctor who treated torture victims in Iraq is suspended for 12 months

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1456 (Published 04 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1456

Re: Doctor who treated torture victims in Iraq is suspended for 12 months

i find it very difficult not to subscribe to the view that there was miscarriage of justice by the manchester tribunal.

a doctor's obligation is to treat the sick irrespective of source or destination.

the only legitimate concern of a physician should be the level of 'ailing' at the point of contact between the ill and the attending physician; that bores down to what the presenting complaints are and the burden of pathology, vis a vis the physician's ability or otherwise to achieve amelioration and or cure.

it should be immaterial whether such a sick person is coming from a 'torture chamber' or an evening mass;

what ought to matter is what can be done to relieve clinical burden regardless of how caused or source or destination.

who knows, that little difference the non-discriminant clinical intervention secures may enable the victim to see another day, and another and another even if those other days will be spent in more tortures;

intervention keeps him alive and so long he is alive, there is also hope of a possibly better tomorrow to live to tell the tale for the betterment of mankind.

what if by refusing to treat, the patient/victim dies, stripped of all hopes for a possible tomorrow.

will his death have been a better outcome measure?!!!!

any doctor who refuses to treat in such circumstance should be considered an accomplice to torture and be punished several times severer than the primary torturers.

if i ever find myself a victim of torture, i will hope i can find doctors who will extend my life using their skills rather than reject to treat for fear of future reprimand;

a living problem is better than a dead certainty

and

i would rather the doctor makes a living problem of me than a dead certainty;

what if the doctor, wishing to be part of a torture machine, decided to use his skills to kill; offering me medications that could poison and cause quick or slow death.

the punishment meted to this doctor is most unkind, particularly given the admission by the tribunal itself that there was enough evidence to believe in the kindness and competence of the doctor.

MERIT, NOT indictment should be the lot of the doctor who kept people alive no matter the predicaments of the day, particularly when keeping people alive was the most that could be expected of him unless he is himself a killer arm of the torture machine

That MERIT should be measured by how many survived torture to live to see another day through the sheer intervention of the doctor and who would have died were the doctor for any reason(s)to have withheld care.

The content or nature of that next day (following the doctor's efforts) to which the victim is exposed should not be used to judge the doctor's effort or motive.

More so when such content is not within the crafting of the doctor.

The tribunal felt the urge to send some message, but unfortunately, it seems in my view, a wrong one and to the wrong person.

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 March 2013
basil b basil fadipe
surgeon
none
justin fadipe centre
mero heights. commonwealth of dominca
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