Turkish Government Considering Criminalizing Emergency Care

11/26/2013
Map of Turkey

In its latest attempt to harass medical professionals and the injured demonstrators they treat, the government of Turkey is considering a health bill that would criminalize certain aspects of emergency medical care and force doctors to compromise their professional duty to treat those in need.

The bill would criminalize independent medical care by qualified practitioners throughout Turkey and provide the Ministry of Health with unprecedented control over health care practices. Article 33 of the draft bill calls for emergency care to be provided “until the arrival of formal health services,” which means the presence of a state ambulance at a demonstration could bar medical professionals from providing care. Under the bill, doctors and other health workers would be subject to fines and even prison time for providing care when it is most needed.

“This bill is clearly part of the Turkish government’s efforts to harass the medical community for treating demonstrators injured during last summer’s protests,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, senior medical advisor at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). “Emergency medical care must be provided based on people’s urgent health needs, not some arbitrary rules about the presence or absence of a state ambulance. 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.”

The full article continues at http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/press/press-releases/turkish-government-considering-criminalizing-emergency-care.html on Physicians for Human Rights’ website.