ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, on Military View of Force-Feeding (2/3/15)

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February 3, 2015

Jemarion Jones, 301-628-5198
Adam Sachs, 301-628-5034

ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN,
On Military View of Force-Feeding

SILVER SPRING, MD – Recent media reports continue to shed light on the ethical issues involved in the force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a situation that ANA has been actively monitoring for more than two years.

According to a recent report from VICE News, the U.S. military, in an internal document obtained by VICE through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), acknowledged that force-feeding people who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

In 2014, ANA publicly supported a Guantanamo Bay Navy nurse who may be forced to show cause for remaining in the Navy because he honored his professional ethical obligations by refusing to force-feed Guantanamo Bay detainees.  Given this new disclosure, it is clear that the military realized that there is at the very least ambiguity about the ethical soundness of force-feeding.

Professional registered nurses operate under a Code of Ethics which clearly supports their ethical right to make independent judgments about whether they should participate in force-feeding or any other such activities that raise ethical questions.

ANA strongly asserts that the rights of registered nurses to honor their professional ethical obligations regarding force-feeding and other sensitive issues are absolutely protected and should be exercised without fear of retaliation.

As we have said previously, we do not believe this nurse should have to show cause for remaining in the Navy, and we urge military leaders and health providers to uphold the ethical code of conduct to which all professional registered nurses are accountable and to be receptive to concerns raised by nurses or any other health care professional who is compelled, by an ethical commitment, to question any activity within the plan of care.

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