Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Self starvation

metafilter post on the force feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo bay leads to an interesting 150-comment thread on the ethics of force feeding.

Someone is starving to death - if you were a doctor would you intervene? The international code of medical ethics says no force feeding - adults of sound mind should be allowed to starve themselves to death. In the early eighties several IRA prisoners killed themselves in this way and the British government did not force-feed them. The suffragettes on the other hand were forcibly fed, in very abusive circumstances. The government of the day also passed the 'cat and mouse' act by which hunger strikers were released from prison, but if their weight returned to normal they were imprisoned, and began starving again.

The obvious solution of course is that these people should be tried for a crime, or released. It is desperate that 83 of them were prepared to starve themselves to death.

But, given that one can not wave a wand and give them a fair trial - would you force feed them? it's a hard thought, but I would not feed them without their consent. Of course it isn't up to me.
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