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06/03/2010

Wanted: Jailhouse doctors for G20 summit

Protesters detained during the G20 summit will be treated in custody for minor injuries, according to an email seeking doctors to work at a temporary jail.

Injured detainees will be treated in a 10-foot-by-30-foot trailer where water is provided by a hose, said the email from Michael Feldman, a medical director at the Sunnybrook Osler Centre for Pre-hospital Care.

“The role of the physician in this team is intended to deal with short, acute interventions which should result in a patient being discharged back to police custody (e.g. simple wound care). These patients would otherwise need transport to hospital,” Feldman wrote.

However, “higher acuity patients” will still be taken to hospital.

The message has been circulated among Toronto physicians to enlist doctors for the “Treat and Release Intervention Team” during the summit. Doctors will be paid $120/hr, the message said.

“I am assuming that these patients are a fairly young, healthy population, and some of whom will probably claim factitious (sic) injury as part of their tactics,” the email continued.

Nathalie Des Rosiers of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association condemned this passage, calling it an “inappropriate attempt to interfere with the ethics of medical decision making.”

“The presumption, the insinuation is that the population they would be treating could be faking their injuries,” Des Rosiers said.

“In our view, this is an attempt to interfere with proper medical decision making and this could lead to serious injuries and misdiagnosis of serious injuries.”

She urged paramedics and physicians working the summit to “ignore this small comment and continue to perform their duties as they’re expected to perform their duties.”

The Treat and Release team is expected to start working on June 18. Its members will focus on treating minor “G20-related problems such as sprains, strains, minor lacerations, abrasions, riot control agent exposures, bites and stings (not anaphylactic), contusions, minor illnesses (URI, UTI), minor allergic reactions, and chest pain that is obviously chest wall/non-cardiac.”

Detainees in the temporary jail — a former film studio on Eastern Ave. — will be kept in cells individually or in groups of up to 10, the email said.

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