Presented at 4th Congress of Mediterranean Academy of Forensic Sciences, October 14-18, 2009, Antalya, Turkey.
Ethical and Legal Consideration of Prisoner’s Hunger Strike in Serbia*
Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 56, Issue 2, pages 547–550, March 2011
How to Cite
Alempijevic, D., Pavlekic, S., Jecmenica, D., Nedeljkov, A. and Jankovic, M. (2011), Ethical and Legal Consideration of Prisoner’s Hunger Strike in Serbia. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56: 547–550. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01669.x
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
- Received 3 Nov. 2009; and in revised form 2 Feb. 2010; accepted 7 Mar. 2010.
- forensic science;
- hunger strike;
- drug abuse;
- human rights;
Abstract: Hunger strike of prisoners and detainees remains a major human rights and ethical issue for medical professionals. We are reporting on a case of a 48-year-old male sentenced prisoner, intravenous heroin user, who went on a hunger strike and died 15 days later. Throughout the fasting period, the prisoner, who was capable of decision making, refused any medical examination. Autopsy findings were not supporting prolonged starvation, while toxicology revealed benzodiazepines and opiates in blood and urine. Cause of death was given as “heroin intoxication” in keeping with detection of 6-MAM. Legal and ethical issues pertinent to medical examination and treatment of prisoners on hunger strike are explored in accordance with legislation and professional ethical standards in Serbia. A recommendation for the best autopsy practice in deaths following hunger strike has been made.