The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Parachas request that he be brought to a U.S. hospital rather than have the experts brought to him.
Where do they treat soldiers with heart problems? said Zachary Katznelson, who at the time was part of Parachas pro-bono legal team. They get them out of Guantánamo as soon as possible. They take them to a real cardiac care unit. Its already risky enough.
The cable clearly indicates that everything we were telling the courts, everything that Saifullah was telling us, was true, Katznelson said. Guantánamo did not have the facilities to adequately treat Saifullah on the island.
The cable also makes clear that the driving force behind seeking the arrangements was the fear that detainees would use a medical emergency to exercise their legal rights.
The cable said that emergency medical treatment on American soil presented serious risks to the U.S. government, or USG.
Admitting particular detainees might lead litigants to argue that U.S. courts should order the USG to admit other, more dangerous, detainees, the cable said. These concerns are unique to the United States and are not something that third countries face.
A State Department official said the U.S. was never able to arrange for emergency medical treatment elsewhere. But a Pentagon spokeswoman argued such a deal wasnt really necessary.
U.S. captives in Cuba receive the highest quality medical care, the same caliber as that received by our own service members, Army Lt. Col. Tanya Bradsher said.
Medical emergencies are handled on a case-by-case basis to identify the most effective means of providing appropriate medical treatment to the detainee at Guantánamo, she said. This may include bringing in outside medical capabilities should the need arise.
Those outside specialists have included cardiologists and a spinal surgeon. Colonoscopies are done more or less routinely.
Today, theres an added complication: Congress forbids the Defense Department to use taxpayer money to transport Guantánamo captives to the U.S.