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Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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"Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them."

Stephen Covey, American leadership consultant and writer

Defenders of Human Rights

Who is a Defender of Human Rights?

Human Rights Defenders can be of any gender, of varying ages, from any part of the world and from all sorts of professional or other backgrounds. In particular, it is important to note that human rights defenders are not only found within non-governmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations but might also, in some instances, be government officials, civil servants or members of the private sector.

 

MedicalWhistleblower Canary Notes No. 36 UN Declaration of Human Rights

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." 

- Edmund Burke

Who is a Mandated Reporter?

Medical Whistleblowers are human rights defenders.  The Hippocratic Oath taken by every Medical Doctor states the Doctors’ responsibility to care for the sick, to report on the welfare of the individual patient and also guard against any bias in the medical care system in relationship to any class of persons. The central moral commitment of the Hippocratic traditional code is its dedication to something other than the physician’s self-interest, that something being the primacy of the welfare of the patient.  The Medical Doctor’s clear obligation is to detect and prevent abuse and neglect.  Medical Whistleblowers promote the well-being of patients by taking appropriate actions to avert the harms caused by violence and abuse.  The duty of the Doctor is to not only address patients’ immediate injuries, but also the psychological and social needs of victims.  Medical Whistleblowers need to work closely in conjunction with members of the public safety and law enforcement communities. 

In the U.S.A. there is mandated reporting of any signs of violence, abuse, or suspicious injuries.  This places the Medical Whistleblower in the position of being a human rights defender and possibly facing retaliation by politically or economically powerful adversaries.  In the political international context, medical professionals are some of the first reporters of violations of human rights.  Medical Whistleblowers report the abuse of the elderly in hospital and nursing home settings, the financial and civil rights violation by guardians of the mentally ill, sexual assault of vulnerable youth in the foster care system, male upon male rape in prisons, neglect or abuse of refugees, and brutality against prisoners of war or psychological torture of terrorist suspects.  Often Medical Fraud goes hand in hand with the violation of the patient’s human rights. Criminals who defraud the US Medicaid system by fraudulent charges, false reports and unnecessary procedures on vulnerable patients, do not care that they are causing physical, emotional and financial harm to vulnerable children and adults.  These criminals deliberately seek out persons who by their very medical condition, disability, cognitive difficulty, legal immigration status, nationality, or disease state are particularly vulnerable.  The right of opinion and expression of Medical Whistleblowers needs to be protected in order to protect these vulnerable patients.

See these Medical Whistleblower Canary Newsletters for further information:


United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Witness Intimidation

Torture

Constitutional Law

"Kindness, courtesy, justice, love, and respect are the cornerstones of a good doctor-patient relationship" - Dr. George Tiller

 

Medical Whistleblower United Nations UPR Report 2010

 “ This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

 Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution

"With the Whistleblower Provision, No One Wins: The SOX provision provides protection to a whistleblower who has been discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or discriminated against by his employer. What it doesn't give him is another life."

- David E. Welch of Bank of Floyd

 

 

"What is faith if it is not translated into action?" 

     -- Mohandas Gandhi

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."

-- Thomas Jefferson

Health Professionals have a Duty to Report Human Rights Violations

Health professionals also have a duty to support colleagues who speak out against human rights violations. Failure to do so risks not only an infringement of patient rights and a contravention of the declarations listed above but also brings the health professions into disrepute.

The World Medical Association’s Declaration of Tokyo reiterates the prohibition of any form of medical participation or medical presence in torture or ill-treatment.  World Psychiatric Association’s Declaration of Hawaii,  prohibits the misuse of psychiatric skills to violate the human rights of any individual or group. The International Conference on Islamic Medicine made a similar point in its Declaration of Kuwait, which bans doctors from allowing their special knowledge to be used “to harm, destroy or inflict damage on the body, mind or spirit, whatever the military or political reason”.   Similar provisions are made for nurses in the directive on the Nurse’s Role in the Care of Detainees and Prisoners.

The World Medical Association’s resolution on human rights calls on all national medical associations to review the human rights situation in their own countries and ensure that doctors do not conceal evidence of abuse even where they fear reprisal.  It also requires that they support individual doctors who call attention to human rights abuses.  The World Medical Association’s subsequent Declaration of Hamburg reaffirms the responsibility of individuals and organized medical groups worldwide to encourage doctors to resist torture or any pressure to act contrary to ethical principles. It calls upon individual doctors to speak out against maltreatment and urges national and international medical organizations to support doctors who resist such pressure.

An absolutely fundamental precept of modern medical ethics is that patients themselves are the best judge of their own interests. This requires health professionals to give normal precedence to a competent adult patient’s wishes rather than to the views of any person in authority about what would be best for that individual.

The World Medical Association’s Declaration of Lisbon specifies the duty for doctors to obtain voluntary and informed consent from mentally competent patients to any examination or procedure. This means that individuals need to know the implications of agreeing and the consequences of refusing. Before examining patients, health professionals must, therefore, explain frankly the purpose of the examination and treatment. Consent obtained under duress or as a result of false information being given to the patient is invalid, and doctors acting on it are likely to be in breach of medical ethics. The graver the implications of the procedure for the patient, the greater the moral imperative to obtain properly informed consent. (Istanbul Protocol -  UN 2004)

Three safeguards advocated by the Committee for persons held in police custody are:
(a) The right of a person deprived of liberty, if he or she so desires, to inform immediately a third party (family member) of the arrest;
(b) The right of a person deprived of liberty to have immediate access to a lawyer;
(c) The right of a person deprived of liberty to have access to a physician, including, if he or she so wishes, a physician of his or her own choice.

Even when doctors are appointed and paid by a third party, they retain a clear duty of care to any patient whom they examine or treat. They must refuse to comply with any procedures that may harm patients or leave them physically or psychologically vulnerable to harm. They must ensure that their contractual terms allow them professional independence to make clinical judgements. Doctors must ensure that any person in custody has access to any medical examination and treatment needed.

The State is responsible for protecting alleged victims, witnesses and their families from violence, threats of violence or any other form of intimidation that may arise pursuant to the investigation. Those potentially implicated in torture should be removed from any position of control or power, whether direct or indirect over complainants, witnesses and their families as well as those conducting investigations. Investigators must give constant consideration to the effect of the investigation on the safety of the person alleging torture and other witnesses.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice,

you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

– Bishop Desmond Tutu (1931- ) Nobel Prize for Peace 1984

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever,

whether a state of war or a threat of war,

internal political instability

or any other public emergency,

may be invoked as

a justification of torture.”

 

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel,

Inhuman,or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

S. Treaty Doc.

No. 100-20 (1988), 1465 U.N.T.S. 85,

113 (1984), at Art. 2

Trauma And Post Traumatic Stress

Upon Reflection on the Hippocratic Oath Margaret Mead remarked


"For the first time in our tradition there was a complete separation between killing and curing. Throughout the primitive world, the doctor and the sorcerer tended to be the same person. He with the power to kill had power to cure, including specially the undoing of his own killing activities. He who had the power to cure would necessarily also be able to kill... With the Greeks the distinction was made clear. One profession, the followers of Asclepius, were to be dedicated completely to life under all circumstances, regardless of rank, age or intellect – the life of a slave, the life of the Emperor, the life of a foreign man, the life of a defective child..."

The Hippocratic Oath is usually interpreted as one of the first statements of a moral of conduct to be used by physicians, assuming the respect for all human life, even unborn.

If You Need Help

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Phoenix Rising Therapy

Suicide Prevention   (800) 273-TALK

Vietnam Veterans of America, Crisis Phone Number. Special Notice: If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255 available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential. http://www.vva.org/.

Veterans’ Crisis Intervention Hotline: 1-888-899-9377. A Crisis Intervention Hotline has been established by the VA Heartland Network to assist veterans who may be dealing with a mental health crisis or difficult issue in their lives. The hotline will also aid family members or friends of veterans who need help in assisting a veteran in crisis.

On line Therapy

National Center for PTSD

International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP)

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights - Attorney Jim Gottstein

Mind Freedom

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

SMART

International Survivors Action Committee

Fighting International Child Abuse Network

Mind Freedom

The Road Back — How To Get Off Psychiatric Drugs Safely

Soteria House — Alternative & Non Drug Solutions for people diagnosed schizophrenic

Plato, Not Prozac — Applying Philosophy to Every Day Problems, Lou Marinoff, Professor of Philosophy University of New York

DrugFreeChildren.org — Informational Website on Issues Surrounding the Use of “Chemical Restraints” on Children

AbleChild — Parents for A Label and Drug Free Education

European Network of (ex) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

Safe Harbor includes links to find medical doctors (by zip code) who can assist with helping people safely get off of psychiatric drugs and medical personnel who will treat people without the use of psychiatric drugs.

Institute for Progressive Medicine — Conventional and Complementary Therapies

Whitaker Wellness Institute — Health Care for a Longer, More Active Life with a focus on elderly care

The American College for the Advancement of Medicine — A Non-Profit Medical Society Dedicated to Improving Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

MedlinePlus — Information on Drugs, Supplements and Herbal Information

Medwatch — The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

 

"Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope...Those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of resistance."

     - Robert F. Kennedy,

The Hippocratic Oath

Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.


“ I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help."

 

 

"We are confronted primarily with a moral issue… whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Referring to race riots in Alabama in a radio broadcast 11th June 1963.

Health Professionals have a Duty to Report Human Rights Violations

Health professionals also have a duty to support colleagues who speak out against human rights violations. Failure to do so risks not only an infringement of patient rights and a contravention of the declarations listed above but also brings the health professions into disrepute.

The World Medical Association’s Declaration of Tokyo reiterates the prohibition of any form of medical participation or medical presence in torture or ill-treatment.  World Psychiatric Association’s Declaration of Hawaii, prohibits the misuse of psychiatric skills to violate the human rights of any individual or group. The International Conference on Islamic Medicine made a similar point in its Declaration of Kuwait, which bans doctors from allowing their special knowledge to be used “to harm, destroy or inflict damage on the body, mind or spirit, whatever the military or political reason”.   Similar provisions are made for nurses in the directive on the Nurse’s Role in the Care of Detainees and Prisoners.

The World Medical Association’s resolution on human rights calls on all national medical associations to review the human rights situation in their own countries and ensure that doctors do not conceal evidence of abuse even where they fear reprisal.  It also requires that they support individual doctors who call attention to human rights abuses.  The World Medical Association’s subsequent Declaration of Hamburg reaffirms the responsibility of individuals and organized medical groups worldwide to encourage doctors to resist torture or any pressure to act contrary to ethical principles. It calls upon individual doctors to speak out against maltreatment and urges national and international medical organizations to support doctors who resist such pressure.

An absolutely fundamental precept of modern medical ethics is that patients themselves are the best judge of their own interests. This requires health professionals to give normal precedence to a competent adult patient’s wishes rather than to the views of any person in authority about what would be best for that individual.

The World Medical Association’s Declaration of Lisbon specifies the duty for doctors to obtain voluntary and informed consent from mentally competent patients to any examination or procedure. This means that individuals need to know the implications of agreeing and the consequences of refusing. Before examining patients, health professionals must, therefore, explain frankly the purpose of the examination and treatment. Consent obtained under duress or as a result of false information being given to the patient is invalid, and doctors acting on it are likely to be in breach of medical ethics. The graver the implications of the procedure for the patient, the greater the moral imperative to obtain properly informed consent. (Istanbul Protocol -  UN 2004)

Three safeguards advocated by the Committee for persons held in police custody are:

 

(a) The right of a person deprived of liberty, if he or she so desires, to inform immediately a third party (family member) of the arrest;
(b) The right of a person deprived of liberty to have immediate access to a lawyer;
(c) The right of a person deprived of liberty to have access to a physician, including, if he or she so wishes, a physician of his or her own choice.

Even when doctors are appointed and paid by a third party, they retain a clear duty of care to any patient whom they examine or treat. They must refuse to comply with any procedures that may harm patients or leave them physically or psychologically vulnerable to harm. They must ensure that their contractual terms allow them professional independence to make clinical judgments.  Doctors must ensure that any person in custody has access to any medical examination and treatment needed.

The State is responsible for protecting alleged victims, witnesses and their families from violence, threats of violence or any other form of intimidation that may arise pursuant to the investigation. Those potentially implicated in torture should be removed from any position of control or power, whether direct or indirect over complainants, witnesses and their families as well as those conducting investigations. Investigators must give constant consideration to the effect of the investigation on the safety of the person alleging torture and other witnesses.

COURAGE 

Courage is the strength to stand up
When it's easier to fall down and lose hold. 
It is the conviction to explore new horizons
When it's easier to believe what we've been told. 
Courage is the desire to maintain our integrity
When it's easier to look the other way. 
It is feeling happy and alive, and moving forward
When it's easier to feel sorry for ourselves and stay. 
Courage is the will to shape our world
When it's easier to let someone else do it for us. 
It is the recognition that none of us are perfect
When it's easier to criticize others and fuss. 
Courage is the power to step forward and lead
When it's easier to follow the crowd; their pleas resound. 
It is the spirit that places you on top of the mountain
When it's easier to never leave the ground. 
The foundation of courage is solid,
The rock that doesn't roll. 
Courage is the freedom
Of our mind, body, and soul! 

~~ Author Unknown ~~

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
 
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER ADVOCACY NETWORK

P.O. 42700 

Washington, DC 20015

MedicalWhistleblowers (at) gmail.com

CONTACT

"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910