20 November 2011

Secret hospitals

My favorite television program, FRONTLINE, recently ran an extraordinary piece on the ongoing Syrian uprising. The reporter went undercover with the underground resistance and experienced firsthand the brutal repression of the Assad regime and the public's noble attempts to gain democracy.

Heartrending for me was the segment on Syria's underground hospitals. Wounded protestors face arrest, torture, and death at the hands of state police if they seek treatment at a public hospital. Doctors who treat protestors risk a similar fate. Sympathetic doctors have improvised, treating seriously-wounded protestors in secret homes, using spartan donated equipment and in constant fear of discovery. This is not what medical care should have to look like. It is a forceful argument for why everyone in our country, including our prisoners, ought to have health care as a basic right. It also argues for non-judgmental regard in medical practice, a complex ethical concept that I haven't entirely come to grips with.

The particular segment on hospitals is below.

Watch Syria Undercover on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

I encourage you to watch the entire "Syria Undercover" piece at FRONTLINE's website.