December 30, 2015

Dr. Michele Heisler Featured in NEJM Opinion Piece

Michele Heisler, MD, MPH, and partners from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), have documented the plight of hospitals and medical teams in Aleppo, Syria as an example of how medical neutrality and humanitarian law have largely been ignored by the international community over the past decade. Dr. Heisler, who is Professor in the Division of General Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, is a volunteer researcher for PHR as part of her faculty role. 

Heisler and a PHR team wrote an opinion piece, which appears in the December 2015 New England Journal of Medicine, entitled "Attacks on Health Care in Syria - Normalizing Violations of Medical Neutrality?" 

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 which were updated and ratified by almost 200 countries, including Syria, require, among other things, that "all parties to a conflict protect and ensure the functionality of medical facilities, transport, and personnel." However, as the article points out, PHR has documented the killings of almost 700 medical personnel mostly by government forces since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.

The NEJM article can be found here. Read UMHS article discussing the study here