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A follow-up investigation on the quality of medical documents from examinations of Basque incommunicado detainees: the role of the medical doctors and national and international authorities in the prevention of ill-treatment and torture.
Forensic Sci Int. 2008 Nov 20; 182(1-3):57-65.FS

Abstract

According to the United Nations and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), torture and ill-treatment continues to be a problem during incommunicado detentions in Spain. CPT has visited Spain and published recommendations for improvements of preventive medical examinations. However, no scientific assessment of the impact of such recommendations exists. The objectives of this study were to assess the quality of documents from preventive medical examinations and the prevalence of alleged ill-treatment and compare findings with similar data from a previous study. Documents issued by state employed doctors describing medical examination of Basques held incommunicado during 2000-2005 were reviewed. The analysis covered allegations of ill-treatment and existence and quality of information essential for medical appraisal of allegations of ill-treatment. The material was collected by a non-governmental organisation. Of 425 documents concerning 118 persons, 85% had no formal structure and the format recommended by CPT was never used. None of 127 documents, concerning 70 persons with allegations of ill-treatment had an overall conclusion on the likelihood of ill-treatment. Twelve to 68% of necessary data were totally missing, and only 13-38% of existing information was sufficient. There was significant variation between the reporting of individual doctors, but in general the quality was unacceptable, although somewhat higher than in the previous study. The prevalence of allegations of ill-treatment was as high as previously. There were more reports of psychological ill-treatment and procedures of forced physical exhaustion, but fewer reports of beatings. In conclusion, there was no indication that the conditions of incommunicado detainees have improved substantially over the past 15 years and the standard of medical reporting was unacceptable. The Spanish authorities should give clear objectives and guidelines for medical examinations of detainees. An independent forensic specialist with the overall academic responsibility for preventive medical examinations of detainees should be employed to supervise state employed doctors. The present article shows the necessity for harmonization of medical practice in documentation of torture.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Section of Forensic Pathology, Basque Institute of Legal Medicine, Barroeta Aldamar 10, planta - 1, E-48001 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain. morentin.b@aju.ej-gv.esNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18995973

Citation

Morentin, Benito, et al. "A Follow-up Investigation On the Quality of Medical Documents From Examinations of Basque Incommunicado Detainees: the Role of the Medical Doctors and National and International Authorities in the Prevention of Ill-treatment and Torture." Forensic Science International, vol. 182, no. 1-3, 2008, pp. 57-65.
Morentin B, Petersen HD, Callado LF, et al. A follow-up investigation on the quality of medical documents from examinations of Basque incommunicado detainees: the role of the medical doctors and national and international authorities in the prevention of ill-treatment and torture. Forensic Sci Int. 2008;182(1-3):57-65.
Morentin, B., Petersen, H. D., Callado, L. F., Idoyaga, M. I., & Meana, J. J. (2008). A follow-up investigation on the quality of medical documents from examinations of Basque incommunicado detainees: the role of the medical doctors and national and international authorities in the prevention of ill-treatment and torture. Forensic Science International, 182(1-3), 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.10.002
Morentin B, et al. A Follow-up Investigation On the Quality of Medical Documents From Examinations of Basque Incommunicado Detainees: the Role of the Medical Doctors and National and International Authorities in the Prevention of Ill-treatment and Torture. Forensic Sci Int. 2008 Nov 20;182(1-3):57-65. PubMed PMID: 18995973.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A follow-up investigation on the quality of medical documents from examinations of Basque incommunicado detainees: the role of the medical doctors and national and international authorities in the prevention of ill-treatment and torture. AU - Morentin,Benito, AU - Petersen,Hans D, AU - Callado,Luis F, AU - Idoyaga,M Itxaso, AU - Meana,J Javier, Y1 - 2008/11/07/ PY - 2007/11/14/received PY - 2008/09/27/revised PY - 2008/10/02/accepted PY - 2008/11/11/pubmed PY - 2009/4/11/medline PY - 2008/11/11/entrez SP - 57 EP - 65 JF - Forensic science international JO - Forensic Sci. Int. VL - 182 IS - 1-3 N2 - According to the United Nations and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), torture and ill-treatment continues to be a problem during incommunicado detentions in Spain. CPT has visited Spain and published recommendations for improvements of preventive medical examinations. However, no scientific assessment of the impact of such recommendations exists. The objectives of this study were to assess the quality of documents from preventive medical examinations and the prevalence of alleged ill-treatment and compare findings with similar data from a previous study. Documents issued by state employed doctors describing medical examination of Basques held incommunicado during 2000-2005 were reviewed. The analysis covered allegations of ill-treatment and existence and quality of information essential for medical appraisal of allegations of ill-treatment. The material was collected by a non-governmental organisation. Of 425 documents concerning 118 persons, 85% had no formal structure and the format recommended by CPT was never used. None of 127 documents, concerning 70 persons with allegations of ill-treatment had an overall conclusion on the likelihood of ill-treatment. Twelve to 68% of necessary data were totally missing, and only 13-38% of existing information was sufficient. There was significant variation between the reporting of individual doctors, but in general the quality was unacceptable, although somewhat higher than in the previous study. The prevalence of allegations of ill-treatment was as high as previously. There were more reports of psychological ill-treatment and procedures of forced physical exhaustion, but fewer reports of beatings. In conclusion, there was no indication that the conditions of incommunicado detainees have improved substantially over the past 15 years and the standard of medical reporting was unacceptable. The Spanish authorities should give clear objectives and guidelines for medical examinations of detainees. An independent forensic specialist with the overall academic responsibility for preventive medical examinations of detainees should be employed to supervise state employed doctors. The present article shows the necessity for harmonization of medical practice in documentation of torture. SN - 1872-6283 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18995973/A_follow_up_investigation_on_the_quality_of_medical_documents_from_examinations_of_Basque_incommunicado_detainees:_the_role_of_the_medical_doctors_and_national_and_international_authorities_in_the_prevention_of_ill_treatment_and_torture_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0379-0738(08)00384-8 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -