The U.S. Navy has dropped all charges against the nurse who refused to force-feed hunger strikers detained at Guantánamo Bay.
The Navy nurse’s career had been in jeopardy because he refused to violate medical ethics after seeing first-hand how inhuman and degrading force-feeding was to his patients. The Navy charged him with misconduct and threatened to expel him after 18 years of committed service. Who would have thought that clinicians would face retaliation for upholding professional ethics? Now under public outrage, the Navy has recognized this as well, dropping all charges against the nurse.
The Navy’s decision makes good medical and ethical sense. The World Medical Association and the American Medical Association have both condemned the practice of force-feeding.
But this work is far from over: if the Navy recognizes that professional ethics bar one nurse from force-feeding, isn’t it time to end the barbaric practice altogether?