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Ethics for International Medicine

A Practical Guide for Aid Workers in Developing Countries

Anji E. Wall

Publication Year: 2012

In recent years, international medicine has become a growth industry. International aid organizations, religious organizations, and medical schools all provide opportunities for health care workers to travel to developing countries to provide needed medical care to the world's poorest citizens.

Medical aid workers from the West encounter many challenges. They serve in settings with limited medical supplies, facilities, and personnel. Their patients speak different languages, have different cultures, and may even have different interpretations of disease. They have limited time in which to provide medical care to hundreds of people. In such circumstances, ethical dilemmas abound, and many health care practitioners, both novice and expert, are unprepared to manage them.

This volume provides medical aid workers with a method for identifying, analyzing, and resolving ethical issues within the context of international medicine. It also presents a series of cases, representative of the ethical issues they are likely to encounter, that illustrate the use of that method. Designating four areas in which good intentions may go awry because of miscommunication and misunderstanding between health care provider and patient - Medical Facts, Goals and Values, Norms, and Limitations - Dr. Wall develops an invaluable tool for individuals and health organizations seeking to serve in developing countries throughout the world.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. ix-ix

There are so many people who have been instrumental during my writing of this book. First, I would like to thank my mentor, Ana Iltis, for all of her support in this project. I would also like to thank the . . .

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IntroductIon: Approaching Ethical Issues in International Medicine

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pp. 1-18

A woman and child are brought to a small hospital staffed by medical aid workers in Afghanistan with injuries resulting from a suicide bombing at the market where they were . . .

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1 | Medical Facts

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pp. 19-56

Medical facts are not always clear, unambiguous statements of the truth agreed upon by all stakeholders involved in a particular case. Rather, each stakeholder has his or her own . . .

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2 | Goals and Values

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pp. 57-94

The goal of a medical intervention is basically the desired outcome. Patients may have general goals for medical interventions such as cure of disease, extension of life, improvement in quality of life, or the ability to return to normal activities. . . .

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3 | Norms

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pp. 95-130

Norms are standards of behaviors derived from ethical, professional, and legal guidelines. As illustrated in the previous cases, multiple norms are important in the analysis of every . . .

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4 | Limitations

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pp. 131-164

One of the most striking characteristics of international medicine in developing countries is the vast array of limitations faced by medical aid workers and their patients. . . .


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pp. 165-168


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pp. 169-170


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pp. 171-177

E-ISBN-13: 9781611682526
E-ISBN-10: 1611682525
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611682106

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2012