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August 7, 1996

Compromise, Complicity, and Torture

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Departments of Psychiatry and Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Minne apolis.

JAMA. 1996;276(5):416-417. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540050076027

Two articles in this issue of The Journal reflect the diverse concerns of physicians vis-á-vis torture.1,2 If you have not yet rendered care to a torture survivor, you probably will. Former prisoners of war (POWs) and refugees number in several millions of people in the United States and more than 20 million refugees worldwide.3,4 As the article1 on the health outcomes of POWs implies, acute or subacute sequelae of torture present infrequently to clinicians in the United States. More frequent are the chronic medical, neurological, and psychiatric disorders apt to recur over a lifetime, and to become manifest years afterward in later life. Refugees and POWs from wars a half century ago may not relate their current health problems to trauma, malnutrition, and loss that occurred decades ago. Clinicians must compensate for such oversight.

See also pp 375 and 396.

The article2 on physician complicity in torture