Journal Published Online: 01 March 2002
Volume 47, Issue 2

Assessment of the Quality of Medical Documents Issued in Central Police Stations in Madrid, Spain: The Doctor's Role in the Prevention of III-Treatment



Doctors sometimes assess allegations of ill-treatment. Reports from such examinations may be used if the practice of the police is to be appraised; they should therefore be relevant and exhaustive.

We assessed, retrospectively, the quality of 318 medical documents concerning 100 persons held in central police stations in Madrid, Spain, from 1991 to 1994. In 71 documents concerning 44 persons the doctors quoted the detainee as alleging ill-treatment. Most of the documents appeared to lack significant information on history of ill-treatment and description of the clinical examination. Of 34 conclusions, ten were unacceptable and the premises were insufficient in 16. These observations point to weaknesses and needs for improvements in the fulfillment of the role of doctors as safeguards of the rights of detainees.

Medical examinations should be conducted outside the control of police officers, by a neutral doctor using a check-list/protocol. The quality of the report should fulfill international standards.

Author Information

Petersen, HD
Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims, Copenhagenk, Denmark
Morentin, B
Clinic of Forensic Medicine, Bilbao, Spain
Callado, LF
University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
Meana, JJ
University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
Hougen, HP
Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Idoyaga, MI
Torturaren Aurkako Taldea, Bilbao, Spain
Pages: 6
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Stock #: JFS15246J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15246J