Three medical workers in Syria were injured in June when a bomb was deliberately dropped on their hospital, destroying its intensive care unit. Soon after, another hospital became a target – government forces raided the facility, destroyed the equipment, and harassed medical staff solely for doing their job of treating the wounded.
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.
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.