The AMA Ad Hoc Physician Persecution Advisory Group (PAG)
Physician persecution anywhere is a threat to professionalism everywhere.
Issue: Trial of Medical Professionals in Bahrain
The AMA encourages America's physicians to write to Bahraini officials, using a sample letter from our website, and join the world's medical community in urging the fair treatment of the health care professionals detained in Bahrain.
Background: Thousands of protesters in the small island Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf took to the streets calling for government reform in February and March 2011. The Government's response was brutal and systematic: shoot civilian protesters, detain and torture them, and erase all evidence. On the frontline, treating hundreds of these wounded civilians, doctors had first-hand knowledge of government atrocities. These health professionals were assaulted and in some cases arrested by government troops. The assault on healthcare workers and their patients constitutes extreme violations of the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law. The doctors and nurses are now on trial.
AMA Response: On March 18 a letter went to Secretary Clinton from Dr. Maves asking for attention to the Bahrain situation. On April 26 the AMA signed on to a letter from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) along with the ACP and the ACEP, among other physician groups, calling for release of the physicians and a promise to uphold principles of medical neutrality. The letter was signed by Dr. Hoven.
National and international professional standards for medicine, as enunciated by the AMA and the World Medical Association (WMA), demand that physicians seek always to protect the health and well-being of patients. From time to time, physicians face significant pressure, from the state or others, to act contrary to the well-being of their patients. In extreme cases, physicians may face outright persecution, including imprisonment, torture or even death, as a consequence of acting according to their professional obligations.
For many years, AMA staff have monitored human rights networks to identify such cases. Occasionally, the AMA has sought relief for persecuted physicians through letters and other advocacy actions, often coordinating our actions with the World Medical Association for greater effect.
To improve our knowledge of such cases and bring them to the attention of AMA and WMA leaders for coordinated action, the AMA created the Ad Hoc Physician Persecution Advisory Group (PAG), a network of interested physicians.
- identify, monitor and evaluate cases of physician persecution world-wide,
- bring appropriate cases to the attention of AMA and/or WMA leadership for advocacy or other actions.
Read more information on the criteria used by the PAG.
The PAG will work on behalf of any physician persecuted for carrying out their professional duties. A special emphasis will be placed on the cases of physicians with connections to the US, but persecuted physicians without US connections may be referred for action to the WMA.
Membership in the PAG is open to all AMA members and is free of charge.
Are you an AMA member? Join the PAG.
Not yet a member? Please join us! We need you! It's important to be an AMA member to help doctors help patients in many areas including human rights. Please join or renew your membership for 2013.
Do you have a case to bring to the attention of the PAG?
The ethical practice of medicine is of universal importance and the persecution of any physician is important to all. Anyone may bring the case of any physician, anywhere, to the attention of the PAG by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.