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Medicine and Public Policy |

Medical Ethics and Human Rights Violations: The Iraqi Occupation of Kuwait and Its Aftermath

Troyen A. Brennan, MD; and Robert Kirschner, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Physicians for Human Rights, 100 Boylston Street, Suite 702, Boston, MA 02116.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Brennan: Division of General Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115.

Dr. Kirschner: Office of Medical Examiner, County of Cook, 2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612.

© 1992 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(1):78-82. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-117-1-78
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▪ Immediately after the liberation of Kuwait by a coalition of allied forces in March 1991, representatives of Physicians for Human Rights traveled to Kuwait and conducted an inquiry into human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by Iraqi forces. The inquiry focused on the abuses that were said to have occurred in health care institutions. Human rights abuses by the Iraqis in Kuwaiti hospitals were documented, but certain allegations proved to be unfounded. However, Kuwaiti abuses of those accused of collaborating with the Iraqi invaders, in particular Palestinian citizens of Kuwait, were also observed. The trip and inquiry generated questions about the scope and applicability of medical ethical principles to physicians in different cultures and in situations unlike those in which medicine is normally practiced. In light of the Kuwait experience, Physicians for Human Rights has drawn tentative conclusions about the universal nature of medical ethics.





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