I have a limited legal knowledge but as a medical practioner I have often considered “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death” to be a weakness that could be legally exploited in attacking the perpetrators of torture.
In the vast majority of cases, organ failure is in itself painless (although most people would logically think this not to be the case). Heart failure (as opposed to a heart attack) is painless. Liver and kidney failure per se are painless. Organ failure is simply the progressive loss of function of the organ from whatever cause.
“Impairment of bodily function” secondary to, for example, a stroke, is painless. While the stroke may be painful (e.g., ruptured aneurysm), most strokes themselves are painless. Nevertheless, the impairment of bodily function is painless.Death itself, one would expect to be completely painless.
On the basis of this, one strongly suspects a legal case could be made that no pain should be inflicted at all on any prisoners.I would be interested to hear a legal opinion on this aspect.
John J. Kellett
Apr 16 2008 - 6:29pm