Doctors call for independent Guantanamo care

An open letter in The Lancet medical journal was sent to President Obama concerning medical care for Guantanamo detainees who are undertaking hunger strikes. An excerpt:

It is clear that they do not trust their military doctors. They have very good reason for this, as you should know, from the current protocols of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which those doctors are ordered to follow. The orders they receive are ultimately your orders as their Commander-in-Chief. Without trust, safe and acceptable medical care of mentally competent patients is impossible. Since the detainees do not trust their military doctors, they are unlikely to comply with current medical advice.

That makes it imperative for them to have access to independent medical examination and advice, as they ask, and as required by the UN and World Medical Association.

The letter was in response to an earlier open letter from 13 hunger strikers to their military doctors (posted in The Guardian on May 31st).

The signees of the Lancet letter state “deepest sympathy for the hunger strikers, the military doctors, and (President Obama’s) predicaments”, and offer to examine and advise the prisoners, along with assisting all involved in an acceptable to all way.

The BBC reports that more than 150 doctors and medical professionals signed the letter to President Obama.

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