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Massachusetts Medical Society




Being Human, a collection of readings assembled by President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics, contains a powerful description of the force-feeding of Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky, who was on a hunger strike to protest the refusal of prison authorities to provide a lawyer for a fellow inmate who was awaiting trial:

They started feeding me forcibly through the nostril. By a rather thick rubber tube with a metal end on it. . . . The procedure will be that four or five KGB guys will come to my cell, take me to a medical unit, put a straitjacket on me, tie me up to a table, and somebody will be still holding, even so I was tied down, holding my shoulders and head and legs, and one will be pushing this thing through my nostril. . . . It's painful like hell I must tell you, because for some reason nose is very sensitive part of body and the tears will be filling your eyes and sort of streaming down because it's so painful, and — awful thing.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, George J. Annas, Hunger Strikes at Guantanamo: Medical Ethics and Human Rights in a “Legal Black Hole”, Volume 355, Page 1377 Copyright ©(2006) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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