Thats what they do for everyone else at Guantánamo, a 45-square-mile base with a mixed military and civilian population of 5,500 residents from soldiers and sailors and their families, to contract school teachers and bartenders.
Emergency cardiac cases are airlifted to South Florida for treatment, said Stacey Byington, spokeswoman for the base naval hospital. Non-emergency cases, if they are eligible for military medical treatment, would be referred to stateside military treatment. Everybody else, except the detainees, would have to get referred to civilian care elsewhere.
So even when the new infrastructure is in place, non-detainee Guantánamo heart patients would still go stateside for such services.
Base doctors intend to use the MRI for all residents not just prisoners who might need its diagnostics, said Durand, the prison spokesman. Now, residents go to Jacksonville Naval Hospital for an MRI, a trip to and from the base that could take five days.
The heart lab is part of a decadelong practice of tailoring a solution to each captives health needs at the base.
Because the Navy outpost is cut off from Cuba proper by both an economic embargo and a minefield, asking Havana for help was never an option.
So, soon after the Pentagon set up the prison camps in 2002, the Navy brought in the bases first CT scan. Specialized surgery soon followed. A neurosurgeon was flown in to remove a lesion from a detainees spine. Doctors brought in a mobile cath lab in 2003, according to court records, and conducted a procedure on a patient who has never been identified.
By 2007, a captive was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and got chemotherapy. He died, and his remains were sent home to Afghanistan.
In 2007, according to leaked State Department cables, the Bush administration mounted a secret diplomatic effort to line up Latin American allies Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama willing to provide life-saving medical procedures for Guantánamo detainees. Not one agreed.
Then in 2011 a 48-year-old Afghan detainee who was in indefinite detention, no trial, died in the shower shortly after working out in a camp for cooperative captives. He was thought to be fit, and felled by a heart attack. NCIS is investigating.
Paracha, the Pakistani prisoner who refused a catheterization procedure in 2006, is now 65. He wanted to be taken to the U.S. or Pakistan for the procedure. Now the Pentagon is bringing a lab in permanently, in case Paracha changes his mind or other captives need the care.
Congress brought this on itself, defense attorney David Remes said from Guantánamo recently. Now that the law doesnt let us bring them to the States for this treatment, they have to build the facility here for how many millions of dollars?