Geneva Conventions 101

Why medical students need to learn a lot more about what constitutes torture

An alarming number of future physicians may not be familiar enough with the Geneva conventions.

America's wrenching debate over what constitutes torture and whether the nation practices it is beginning to involve a group you'd think would be above such things: the medical profession. According to a new survey of more than 1,700 students from eight medical schools, an alarming number of future physicians may not be familiar enough with the Geneva conventions to recognize torture. Worse, even some who do know what it is may be willing to inflict it anyway.

Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, a psychiatrist with the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, started the study after hearing media reports that U.S. doctors had been...

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