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Author Archive: Steven Miles


The American Psychological Association Interrogation Policy and Dr. Gerald Koocher, AAAS Fellow

by Steven Miles, M.D. 

A recent 542-page report describes a damning collaboration between the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government intelligence agencies. In essence, the APA rewrote the ethics code to allow psychologists to design and monitor interrogational torture.[i] The APA Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) said that the interrogational psychologists’ client was the interrogational command and not the prisoners’ wellbeing. The aim of this policy was to authorize and shelter psychologists who devised plans that included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, food restriction, use of threatening dogs, solitary confinement, use of restraining stress positions, etc.…

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A Tribute to John Arras

by Steven Miles, MD

It is hard to believe that John Arras has died. John was one of the younger creators of modern bioethics. He died at age 69. He was my teacher although I am less than five years his junior.

John was the rare spirit of teaching. Although broadly read, he used his erudition to counsel and inspire rather than to boast or intimidate. He avoided the spartan liturgy of four principles in his elegantly constructed and simply stated arguments that spoke to heart and mind. He insisted on taking on the hard stuff like access to health care and rationing and justice and the neglected corners of medicine rather than confining himself to the well trodden dilemmas of end of life intensive care.…

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Kaci Hickox: Public health and the politics of fear

Steven H Miles, M.D.

Kaci Hickox is a nurse who went to Sierra Leone with Doctors without borders to treat the emergency with Ebola. She is professionally brave, articulate and well trained. Sierra Leone, with 5000 cases, is one the epicenters of the Ebola epidemic.[1] [2] She was last exposed to patient care on October 21.[3] On Friday October 24, she returned to the United States, entering at Newark International Airport in New Jersey. There she was met by a disorganized set of officials who tried to determine what to do with her. She was repeatedly interviewed. Her temperature on arrival was normal but was repeated several times using a forehead scan thermometer, which will give falsely high readings of persons under stress.…

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Military Doctors and Deaths by Torture: When a Witness Becomes an Accessory

Guest Blog Post: Steven Miles, M.D.

This blog post will appears as an Editorial in this May’s upcoming issue of AJOB

A Case (and Context)

The Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service in the United Kingdom recently revoked a physician’s license for failing to report treating a man who had been tortured and for failing to safeguard vulnerable detainees. The physician was serving with the UK military in Afghanistan. Baha Mousa, a prisoner, was brought to him with extensive signs of severe physical trauma.  Soldiers told him that the man had sustained trauma. The physician knew that there were other prisoners and was apparently within earshot of their cries for help.[i]  The physician led a competent but unsuccessful attempt at resuscitation.…

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