Excerpt from Doctors say medical transfer provision necessary in Defense bill
by Sondra S. Cosby, M.D. and Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D.
December 9, 2013
Tarek El Sawah, an Egyptian who arrived in Guantanamo in May 2002, is a complicated and high-risk medical patient. Over the last decade, three former GTMO commanders have written declarations affirming their belief that he does not pose a significant danger to the security of the United States and should be released. During that same time, Mr. El Sawah’s weight has more than doubled – to over 400 pounds. That is no accident; interrogators appear to have exploited Mr. El Sawah’s significant psychological vulnerabilities and enticed him with excessive amounts of food for “information.” He now suffers from a multitude of serious physical and psychiatric illnesses; even walking is difficult. Evaluation and treatment has been delayed for years. The rapid turnover of medical professionals has impeded meaningful continuity of care, which is a fundamental requirement when caring for complex medical patients like Mr. El Sawah. It is remarkable that we (as medical consultants for his defense team) have had more continuity than any military doctors charged with his care in 11 years of detention.