Court denies Guantanamo prisoners petition to end force-feeding

"...The medical staff at Guantanamo begins by designating a detainee as a “hunger striker . . . based on the detainee’s intent, purpose, and behavior,” the detainee’s “[w]eight loss to a level less than 85% of the detainee’s Ideal Body Weight,” or the detainee’s missing “nine consecutive meals.” Id. Then, if “medical personnel determine the detainee’s refusal to voluntarily consume adequate food or nutrients could now threaten his life or health,” the detainee may be “approved for enteral feeding”—that is, force-feeding using “nasogastric tubes” inserted through the detainee’s nose and into his stomach. Id. at 4. The declaration states that even after a detainee is approved for such treatment, “medical personnel will only implement enteral feeding when it becomes medically necessary to preserve a detainee’s life and health.” Id. The medical staff will also offer the detainee a final “opportunity to eat a standard meal or consume [a] liquid supplement orally, instead of being enterally fed.” Id.

If the detainee refuses, officials will strap him to a “restraint chair.” Decl. of Commander [Redacted], M.D., 5. The restraint chair, the declaration explains, “is ergonomically designed for the detainee’s comfort and protection, with a padded seat and padded back support.” Id. Once the detainee is restrained, “physicians or credentialed registered nurses” insert the “nasogastric tubes” through the detainee’s nostril using a lubricant and, unless the detainee declines, “a topical anesthetic such as lidocane.” Id. at 4. After medical personnel have verified that the tube has been properly placed in the detainee’s stomach, “an appropriate amount of nutritional

supplement formula is infused by gravity.” Id. The actual feeding process “typically takes 30 to 40 minutes.” Id. Once the feeding is complete, the medical staff keeps the detainee strapped in the restraint chair for an additional period in order “to ensure the detainee has tolerated the feeding and to permit digestion of the nutritional formula.” Id. at 5. “Detainees are offered pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, if they indicate any discomfort from the feeding procedure.” Id..."

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