You may think an article about how to survive if you are taken hostage is a bit far fetched for the Student BMJ, but medical students do either study in countries where their status puts them at risk or may want to work with a non-governmental organisation. Ian Palmer gives some advice
- By: Ian P Palmer
Current events in the Middle East have heightened the risks of kidnapping and mistreatment. As a professor of military psychiatry, I am experienced in the issues surrounding hostage taking. I want to share this knowledge with colleagues who choose to work in hostile regions around the world. This article is based on the training I give to journalists, non-governmental organisations, British government employees, and armed forces personnel. It does not represent the views or opinions of the UK Ministry of Defence.
Sensible organisations send their employees on one of the more reputable courses on survival in a hostile region. So if you are contemplating working in a hostile region, attend a course. They act as psychological “security” by ensuring that you are properly briefed and know how to keep safe and avoid capture in the first place. Heed authorities' advice (see www.fco.gov.uk and www.icrc.org). See box 1.
External pressures include