What's Torture? Don't Ask a Med Student

25% would inject saline in detainee who thinks it's lethal, says study
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2007 10:14 AM CDT
A Guantanamo detainee walks during a daytime Ramadan fast in 2007. Many medical students don't know the Geneva conventions well enough to identify a torture technique, a new study finds. (AP Photo/Brennan...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Many medical students don't know the Geneva conventions enough to identify torture techniques, Time reports. More than a third say it's okay to threaten removal of a prisoner's food or water, and more than 25% would inject a saline solution into a detainee who believes it's lethal. A recent study claims to know why: 94% of medical students get less than an hour of military ethics training.

Psychiatrist J. Wesley Boyd launched the survey of 1,700 students in eight schools after hearing that US doctors had aided in torture techniques. Boyd says the fix is simply better schooling. "It doesn't have to be a full class. Even five lunchtime talks would make the difference." But one critic says ethics training isn't enough: Doctors also have to learn to say no when a commander wants them to hurt, not heal.