Doctors from Hell Made Brazilian Society A Guinea Pig

The continuing policy of "early treatment" needs to be held accountable under a Nuremberg trial

Conrado Hübner Mendes

"What kind of doctor can be involved in these activities? What are the motives of 'doctors from hell'? Some German doctors sought the professional glory through contributing to the welfare of humanity—humanity only as an abstract idea. They were committed to a science that enable them to seize an opportunity for human experimentation. Other German doctors claimed they merely continued a practice of healing. For their ideology, the illness was of the body of the state. The disease was an invasion by those of inferior blood that would weaken the 'purity' of the state." (...) "Is their evil evident?"

Vivien Spitz reported in the book "Doctors from Hell" the trial of Nazi doctors in Nuremberg. In addition to detailing the exploitation of human lives and bodies during the period, she discussed how the medical profession can perpetrate crimes in the name of science.

From that historical episode emerged the "Nuremberg Code", a declaration of bioethical principles that condition medical experiments (see "The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code", by Annas and Grodin). Initially seen as a "good code for barbarians", a German aberration that did not affect the Western medical profession, it was succeeded by the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki as the more universal reference (see "Justice at Nuremberg" by Ulf Schmidt) .

The duty of voluntary and informed consent of human beings to undergo tests or treatments is the starting point of these declarations.

The medical usurpation of human dignity neither begins nor ends with Nazism. A more recent example was the practice of the US government in the "war on terror". The technique of "waterboarding" had its efficiency and intensity "improved" by doctors to sidestep the technical-legal threshold of torture (see report "Experiments in Torture"). They calibrated pain and suffering to ensure clean hands.

Brazil marked its place in yet another chapter in the universal history of infamy.

In the pandemic, Bolsonaro opted for political, institutional and federal tension. Denialism did not translate into simple inaction, but into diversionary health management. He rejected solutions constructed by the global scientific community and replaced them with a parallel policy by a shadow cabinet. The flagship was "early treatment".

The policy encouraged "normal life" without mask and social distancing. If anything happened, cure and prevention were at hand. Since they weren't harmless, they weren't mere placebos. They were rather social anxiolytics at the cost of thousands of individual deaths.

Brazilian government turned patients and society at large into guinea pigs in a human mass-death experiment. The strategy was to spread the virus (see bulletin "Direitos na Pandemia n. 10", Cepedisa-USP and Conectas). Meanwhile, we were distracted by pills and ozone mists. They were aware of the exponential multiplication of lethality, but maybe collective immunity would sprout faster.

Our "doctors from hell" showed up. Legal-corporate support came from the Federal Council of Medicine, whose legal opinion released medical error under the cover of "medical autonomy". As if autonomy protected medical blunders. At the UN, Bolsonaro made an honorable mention to Council. A complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office, originating from a petition undersigned by 60,000 physicians, clarifies the illegalities of the opinion still in force.

The pseudo-scientific support, it seems, also came from a chain of private hospitals (Prevent Senior), which arguably would have administered kit-Covid without consent, omitted deaths by Covid and made recommendations based on spurious studies. Uninformed consent induced by medical authority is not consent. Even less when supported by aggressive government pressure and president's personnel. Much less when treatment ineffectiveness has already been demonstrated.

The freedom to practice medicine does not include the freedom to be a charlatan and let die. The contract with death appeared in this variant of the bolsonarist freedom once again.

Rebuilding the web of civil and criminal liability for 600,000 deaths and socioeconomic collapse requires pointing out accomplices and participants, public and private, individual and corporate. The Senate Investigative Commission (CPI) report is expected to start this reparation process.

Justice Robert Jackson, a judge in the Nuremberg Trials, warned: "The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated."