Week 4: Torture why not?

Ok i order to write this I have avoided reading other blogs first as I have seen all the headings coming through and know I will end up agreeing with others but wish to initiate some controversy first.

First I must admit I never watched “Zero Dark Thirty” and with the reviews given don’t really want to. And I do want to state first up that I don’t think torture is good and neuroloscientists in 2009 wrote Torturing the brain showing how at a neurological level torture is often ineffective this was reiterated in 2011 again by O’Mara and Pope. However we are still able and willing to inflict pain on others as shown in the Milgram Experiment in 1961 and repeated unfortunately with similar results in 2009 where even highly educated people are willing to give lethal electric shocks when told to by an authority figure.

The definition of torture as defined by Webster is “something that causes agony or pain”

My personal definition is any pain inflicted on another individual.  Unfortunately as physio’s I would argue on occasion we do torture our patients. Not a popular opinion I know but before everyone berates me for being non PC let me explain. As a training physio one of my first patients said “ow” and I couldn’t treat him and my supervisor had to take over, after the session my supervisor took me aside and told me that patients are in pain we may cause some more in treating them and if I want to be a physio I better get over it. So to me since then in my mind I associated pain eliciting test and some gating techniques (trigger pointing, dry needling) as torture even though we are seeking a positive outcome. And no I would never say what we do could be put on the same level as what was done to Steve Biko. But deep down when testing patients and I elicit an ow as a positive test requires I still internally flinch and remember the  Hippocratic Oath is “work in the best interest of your patient” and not to “do no harm” (which is an argument a lot of the euthanasia rights groups use)


Now for the weekly questions, if not already answered:

Living in a monetary driving world we have criteria for treatment we are meant to set aside the individuals background and provide treatment to those whom will most benefit. Ideally I would get surgical procedures and the best care for all my patients but  they may not have as good an outcome and when funds are limited it is the individual who will have the best outcome that will get the funding. In someways I like this policy as it is clear cut and I don’t have to say one individual has more value than another, I just have to put them forward for review based on pathology and expected outcome.

I think I may have answered the next two questions already.

Finally do I believe in an “eye for a eye” well if you do look at where it comes from and if you wish me to quote scripture “vengeance is mine sayith the lord” so no I don’t think it is my place to inflict other peoples revenge, my place as a health professional is to work in the “best interest of my patient”. In NZ Capital punishment was completely abolished in 1989 (it had been retained for treason) and I agree with this as personally I believe to have your freedom removed in many ways a higher price though I still look at some of our penalties and think they are light compared to the crimes committed but as a society we will always be judged on how we judge others and personally I go with this is why I went in to health and not law as I want to help and not judge.

2 thoughts on “Week 4: Torture why not?

  1. […] needs to be specific as sitting in maths class as Adam had stated in his blog was torture where in Marna’s blog she stated that having her patient complain of pain while being treated is seen as she is […]

  2. […] comfort or refusing to help them when they are in pain or discomfort, that is another story.   Marna also discussed this area of potential torture in patient care in her blog […]

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