Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Amid Egyptian uprisings, doctors’ care for patients takes on political significance

June 21, 2016

Volunteers sorting through medical supplies for the field hospitals in June 2013. Image by Elizabeth Rappaport, 2013.

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Watson Faculty Fellow Sherine Hamdy, along with Soha Bayoumi (Harvard University), discuss their recently published article, "Egypt's Popular Uprising and the Stakes of Medical Neutrality", with News from Brown. 

An excerpt from the article:

"During the upheaval in Egypt that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power, doctors’ efforts to remain neutral nevertheless constituted a political act. That is the finding of Sherine Hamdy, Brown associate professor of anthropology, and Soha Bayoumi, Harvard lecturer in the history of science in their new article "Egypt’s Popular Uprising and the Stakes of Medical Neutrality,” in the current special issue of the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.

Hamdy and Bayoumi explore how the political turmoil in Egypt in 2011 complicated Egyptian doctors’ professional commitment to medical neutrality – that is, to treating all sick and injured individuals without regard to their patients’ political stances and without interference.

The concept of medical neutrality – a duty to practice medicine impartially and with immunity from violent reprisals by individuals or the state actors responsible for the subjects’ injuries or illnesses – is articulated most fully in the Geneva Conventions in relation to warfare between states, Hamdy and Bayoumi note."

To read more, visit News from Brown.