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Capitol Health Call
December 14, 2005

Physicians Condemn Torture

JAMA. 2005;294(22):2833. doi:10.1001/jama.294.22.2833-c

Four associations of health professionals have endorsed Sen John McCain’s (R, Ariz) proposal to prohibit torture of detainees by US forces pursuing terrorists or fighting in Iraq.

The American Medical Association in letters sent November 1 to the leadership of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations urged adoption of the McCain amendment, saying, in part, that “torture is fundamentally incompatible with a physician’s duty to prevent harm and their role as a healer.” And in a November 4 letter in the New York Times, C. Anderson Hedberg, MD, Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, and Ronald F. Levant, EdD, presidents, respectively, of the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association, said they were backing McCain’s proposal to prohibit “cruel, inhumane, or degrading” treatment of detainees.

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