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Case Western Reserve University School of Law




Physicians can be used by governments for nonmedical purposes, and physician acceptance of their nonmedical use is usually denoted as "dual loyalty, " although it is more analytically helpful to frame it "dual use. " Dual use of physicians has been on display at Guantanamo where physicians have consistently been used to break hunger strikes as part of the military security mission in ways that directly violate medical ethics. Guantanamo itself has also been seen worldwide as a uniquely horrible prison, which can tell us little about other American prisons. The contrary seems to be true: Guantanamo, and the use and misuse of physicians there, is much more a reflection of the American prison system that an aberration of it. Closing or reforming Guantanamo will not solve the problem of the dual use of physicians in American prisons and the American military. As illustrated by a report of an expert Institute of Medicine committee on research in American prisons, the entire U.S. prison system will have to be reformed to adequately address the problem of dual use of physicians in prisons.

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