Amidst the unacceptable assault on civilian protesters in Egypt, reports indicate that those responsible for the brutality, that has so far left more than 500 dead, are also preventing access to medical care that the thousands of injured will need to survive.
Force feeding is inconsistent with medical ethics, as it directly infringes on detainees' rights to make their own decisions about their health. Health professionals at Guantánamo have been subjecting detainees to the procedure against their wishes, using shackles and restraints for up to four hours a day while force feeding them.
Last Friday, a team of PHR staff and members of the PHR chapter of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine visited Congressional offices to advocate for the Medical Neutrality Protection Act.
PHR sent this letter to the Turkish Ministry of Health expressing our deep concern over the ministry's efforts to pass legislation that would prevent medical personnel from providing emergency care to anyone in need, including demonstrators.
Along with many of my medical colleagues, I have been appalled to read recent news accounts of Turkish doctors being arrested, questioned, and threatened with having their medical licenses revoked merely for treating protesters wounded in clashes with security forces in Istanbul. We have also been encouraged, however, to see the Turkish Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Central Council respond so forcefully to the Ministry of Health’s attempts to discourage physicians from treating protesters engaged in “illegal” activities.