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Alumnus's book on prisoner abuse draws international attention

A book written by Medical School alumnus and faculty member Steven H. Miles, M.D., on the medical mistreatment of prisoners in U.S. military prisons continues to draw international attention.

Published last year by Random House, Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror, on the role of medical professionals in the abuse and neglect of prisoners held in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, was reviewed last fall by the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, and the British Medical Journal.

“It is a shocking story, even for readers who think they have learned all they need to know from the media about torture in U.S. military prisons,” wrote reviewers in the October 12, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Miles believes the book has had an impact on the medical and military communities that confront these issues. “Policies are getting stronger and more clearly articulated. But the U.S. medical community has still not come to grips with the need for accountability and an independent investigation of these abuses,” says Miles, a professor of medicine in the Medical School, a faculty member in the University’s Center for Bioethics, and a practicing physician.

This is not Miles’s first venture in addressing human rights and medical ethics. The Class of 1976 alumnus has worked with the American Refugee Committee and the Minneapolis-based Center for Victims of Torture.

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