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Contempo Updates
August 2, 2000

Health Care of Torture Survivors

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Psychiatry (Drs Piwowarczyk and Grodin), Departments of Medicine (Dr Moreno), Health Law (Dr Grodin), and Socio-Medical Sciences (Dr Grodin), Boston University Schools of Medicine (Drs Piwowarczyk, Moreno, and Grodin) and Public Health (Dr Grodin), Boston Medical Center (Drs Piwowarczyk, Moreno, and Grodin); and Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (Drs Piwowarczyk, Moreno, and Grodin), Boston, Mass.


Contempo Updates Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(5):539-541. doi:10.1001/jama.284.5.539

Despite attempts by the world community to address human rights violations, torture and ill treatment were practiced in 132 countries in 1999.1 Unfortunately, physicians are known to have been involved in torture, both by assessing prisoners before and during torture, and also by falsifying medical certificates and autopsy reports.2 With rapid globalization and increasing international travel, physicians in developed countries will encounter growing numbers of torture survivors. However, many physicians may not be comfortable raising issues of physical abuse3 and survivors, for their part, may find the clinical setting to be reminiscent of prior experiences of torture.4 In this article, we present an approach to identifying and caring for survivors of torture.

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