In a way, I have a hard time believing that they don’t. The first time I saw the movie Serpico, was at a movie-theatre in San-Francisco in the mid-seventies, and the movie included a scene whereby New York police were sticking a guy’s head in a toilet and flushing it, to get a confession. It might not have been a policy, but I don’t reckon anything in the movie was not common knowledge at the time.
While waterboarding is getting big attention, I want to present the same problem which affects some patients on life-support equipment. To intentionally cut somebody’s oxygen supply as an act, to force them to unwillingly obey force being used against them is torture. Also, to leave a patient’s trache obstructed by secretions until a respirator or ventilator’s alarm goes off, is close to torture. The only difference is that waterboarding is deliberate, and refusal to suction a patient until the alarm goes off is not considered waterboarding!—I personally fail to see the difference.
Several times between 1993-2000 I have endured respiratory-failures! This happened at more than one city, and different times. What I’ve learned is not in textbooks, medical journals, college courses or anywhere.–If it was, the alarms on the equipment would go off a little earlier than they do.
In 2008 there were times on a trache that I’d get fed-up with a nurse not treating it with any sense of urgency, when I rang the bell to be suctioned. Sometimes I’d get a lecture about how great my stats were, pulse OK and O2 at 94-96%! Despite the times I communicated with a couple of nurses and RT’s (Respiratory Technicians), that the monitor doesn’t always display the real-time effect of what is going on inside the body, they didn’t care.
When I was in a position to talk, I would even explain it to them.—But these “expert know-it-alls” are programmed robots, who only know what their written orders say. By the time the alarm goes off on any respirator or ventilator I was ever on, I was half dead. They’re good at denying everything, and maybe that is a new code?—To help push some people out of the way!
If an engineer who works on developing respirator-ventilator systems reads this, I hope they can consider what I’m saying here. There is a delay between when a patient notices a critical change going on, by the time the equipment detects it, and finally the alarm sounds. As a person who has been intubated more than once, and had to be on a trache twice for a period of time, I do feel that the sensitivity level of the alarm systems on respirators and ventilators should be configured to sound sooner. I really think that engineers should shorten the time between when a patient’s body goes into distress, and the equipment can detect it and sound the alarm.
My bottom line is:
If there is going to be enough concern made to stop the torture of suspects by waterboarding, I want the same level of concern to stop patients from being waterboarded from respirator/ventilator systems.