MIAMI – A Navy nurse has been allowed to resume full medical duties by the military nearly two years after he refused to take part in force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, his lawyer said Tuesday.
The nurse is working as a nurse at a Navy medical facility in New England, said the lawyer, Ronald Meister. He declined to provide the officer’s name or his duty station.
Last year, the commanding officer of Navy personnel rejected a commander’s recommendation that the nurse appear before a board of inquiry that could have resulted in his removal from the service. But Meister said officials began the process of revoking his security clearance, which is required for him to perform his full duties.
The lawyer said the Department of Defence recently informed the nurse that his clearance was restored and the officer will be able to serve the remainder of his service until he retires in December after a 20-year career.
“The nurse is very pleased to be able to get back to what is most important to him: caring for patients as the Navy trained him to do,” Meister said.
In the summer of 2014, the nurse, a lieutenant, was abruptly sent home from a temporary assignment at Guantanamo after he refused to administer liquid nutrients with nasogastric tube to hunger striking prisoners, a procedure intended to prevent them starving themselves to death in protest of their confinement.
Hundreds of doctors and nurses and medics have participated in the procedure over the years, which the military calls “enteral feeding” and says is performed humanely. Officials have said the nurse was the only one to refuse to take part, though his ethical objection has been backed by the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Human Rights and other groups.