Patients in government-run hospitals in Syria are being tortured in an attempt to suppress dissent, an Amnesty International report alleges.
The 39-page report claims patients in at least four state hospitals have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including by medical staff.
Many injured civilians consider it safer not going to hospital, it says.
Syrian authorities have denied torturing opponents of the government.
Anti-government protests, which first broke out in March, have continued despite President Bashar al-Assad's attempts to stifle them.
The UN says more than 3,000 people have died in seven months of unrest, which Syria has blamed on "terrorists" and "armed gangs".
International journalists face severe restrictions to reporting in Syria, and it is hard to verify reports.'Seriousness'
Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa researcher Cilina Nasser said Syrian authorities appeared to have "given security forces a free rein in hospitals".
"In many cases hospital staff appear to have taken part in torture and ill treatment of the very people they are supposed to care for," she said in a statement.
"Given the scale and seriousness of the injuries being sustained by people across the country, it is disturbing to find that many consider it safer to risk not having major wounds treated rather than going to proper medical facilities."
The human rights group documented cases where patients had been removed from hospitals.