Physicians, Ethicists, Urge Doctors To Refuse To Participate in Guantanamo Force-Feeding

Advised to refuse orders


U.S. military doctors should refuse orders to force-feed hunger strikers at the Guantanamo detention camp because it violates their ethical obligations, two doctors and a medical ethics professor wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

"Force-feeding a competent person is not the practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault," the trio said in an article posted on the website of the respected medical journal.

"Physicians at Guantanamo cannot permit the military to use them and their medical skills for political purposes and still comply with their ethical obligations," wrote Doctors Sondra Crosby and Leonard Glantz, and George Annas, a lawyer who chairs the Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights Department at Boston University.