Turkey may bar insurgents from emergency care

A new law before the Turkish General Assembly may prevent severely injured protesters from being treated by medical personnel. The draft bill, accepted by a parliamentary commission last week, sets out that where “formal health services” (for example state ambulances) are present, no alternative medical care may be provided for injured people.

Hence, if a state ambulance is present at a protest, doctors and medical personnel may not assist injured participants.

Human rights monitors fear that the law will be used to prevent political dissidents from receiving emergency care. Dr Vincent Lacopino, senior medical advisor at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), said that “This bill would not only force doctors to abandon their ethical duty to provide care for those in need, but could also have dire consequences for anyone in urgent need of medical assistance.”

A coalition of medical associations jointly authored a letter to the Turkish Minister of Health, Dr. Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, calling for the controversial provisions to be omitted from the law: "We call upon you, and the Turkish parliament to…exclude any provisions that would undermine independent, ethical, non-discriminatory care to those in need”.  

This article is published by Xavier Symons and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

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