Friday, March 1, 2013

Doctors Dismissed for Doing their Duty

During the spring of 2011, there were riots across the Arab World referred to as the "Arab Spring of 2011." At times, these protests became violent and people were injured. In Bahrain, seven doctors carried out what they saw as their ethical duty to aid the injured. Unfortunately, as this was being done, the doctors were arrested for aiding the protests. From this point, they were tortured and forced to confess to crimes. Four of the doctors are set to serve prison sentences of up to 5 years because of this. The remaining three physicians have had their ability to practice medicine revoked and must seek other employment. Physicians worldwide historically take the Hippocratic Oath before they begin their service, which states that all physicians must aim to practice medicine ethically and honestly. This means not discriminating towards those in need of treatment. When the physicians saw the injured protestors, they knew they had a duty to treat them. However, the government of Bahrain disagrees. The government is willing to deny the protestors the basic human right of medical treatment, which needs to be changed. This is unbelievable. They would rather have the protestors suffer or possibly die. No one should be denied medical care. Even in a country like the United States which does not have universal healthcare, everyone is allowed medical care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) regardless of ability to pay or citizenship. Organizations like the Red Cross provide aid to anyone worldwide. Medical care should not be denied to anyone. It is a basic human right. Hopefully some action will be taken to free these physicians from prison and allow them to carry on their noble duty.

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