Medical tourism (MT) can be conceptualized as the intentional pursuit of non-emergency surgical interventions by patients outside their nation of residence. Despite increasing popular interest in MT, the ethical issues associated with the practice have thus far been under-examined. MT has been associated with a range of both positive and negative effects for medical tourists' home and host countries, and for the medical tourists themselves. Absent from previous explorations of MT is a clear argument of how responsibility for the harms (...) of this practice should be assigned. This paper addresses this gap by describing both backward looking liability and forward looking political responsibility for stakeholders in MT. We use a political responsibility model to develop a decision-making process for individual medical tourists and conclude that more information on the effects of MT must be developed to help patients engage in ethical MT. (shrink)
Medical tourism is a practice, whereby individuals travel across national borders with the intention of receiving medical care. Medical tourists are motivated to travel abroad by a number of factors, including the affordability of care abroad, access to treatments not available at home, and wait times for care at home. In this article, we share the findings of interviews conducted with 32 Canadian medical tourists with the aim of developing a better understanding of medical tourism, the ethical issues it raises (...) for public health within Canada and other source countries for medical tourists, and to identify research gaps and policy responses to this practice. While patient and academic perspectives overlap in several regards, we suggest areas in which academic consideration of the ethical issues raised by medical tourism can be informed by patient perspectives. (shrink)
Background: Medical tourism, thought of as patients seeking non-emergency medical care outside of their home countries, is a growing industry worldwide. Canadians are amongst those engaging in medical tourism, and many are helped in the process of accessing care abroad by medical tourism brokers - agents who specialize in making international medical care arrangements for patients. As a key source of information for these patients, brokers are likely to play an important role in communicating the risks and benefits of undergoing (...) surgery or other procedures abroad to their clientele. This raises important ethical concerns regarding processes such as informed consent and the liability of brokers in the event that complications arise from procedures. The purpose of this article is to examine the language, information, and online marketing of Canadian medical tourism brokers' websites in light of such ethical concerns. Methods: An exhaustive online search using multiple search engines and keywords was performed to compile a comprehensive directory of English-language Canadian medical tourism brokerage websites. These websites were examined using thematic content analysis, which included identifying informational themes, generating frequency counts of these themes, and comparing trends in these counts to the established literature. Results: Seventeen websites were identified for inclusion in this study. It was found that Canadian medical tourism broker websites varied widely in scope, content, professionalism and depth of information. Three themes emerged from the thematic content analysis: training and accreditation, risk communication, and business dimensions. Third party accreditation bodies of debatable regulatory value were regularly mentioned on the reviewed websites, and discussion of surgical risk was absent on 47% of the websites reviewed, with limited discussion of risk on the remaining ones. Terminology describing brokers' roles was somewhat inconsistent across the websites. Finally, brokers' roles in follow up care, their prices, and the speed of surgery were the most commonly included business dimensions on the reviewed websites. Conclusion: Canadian medical tourism brokers currently lack a common standard of care and accreditation, and are widely lacking in providing adequate risk communication for potential medical tourists. This has implications for the informed consent and consequent safety of Canadian medical tourists. (shrink)
Background: Medical tourism involves patients travelling internationally to receive medical services. This practice raises a range of ethical issues, including potential harms to the patient's home and destination country and risks to the patient's own health. Medical tourists often engage the services of a facilitator who may book travel and accommodation and link the patient with a hospital abroad. Facilitators have the potential to exacerbate or mitigate the ethical concerns associated with medical tourism, but their roles are poorly understood. -/- (...) Methods: 12 facilitators were interviewed from 10 Canadian medical tourism companies. -/- Results: Three themes were identified: facilitators' roles towards the patient, health system and medical tourism industry. Facilitators' roles towards the patient were typically described in terms of advocacy and the provision of information, but limited by facilitators' legal liability. Facilitators felt they played a positive role in the lives of their patients and the Canadian health system and served as catalysts for reform, although they noted an adversarial relationship with some Canadian physicians. Many facilitators described personally visiting medical tourism sites and forming personal relationships with surgeons abroad, but noted the need for greater regulation of their industry. -/- Conclusion: Facilitators play a substantial and evolving role in the practice of medical tourism and may be entering a period of professionalisation. Because of the key role of facilitators in determining the effects of medical tourism on patients and public health, this paper recommends a planned conversation between medical tourism stakeholders to define and shape facilitators' roles. (shrink)
Spaces of Geographical Thought examines key ideas – like space and place - which inform the geographic imagination. The text: discusses the core conceptual vocabulary of human geography: agency: structure; state: society; culture: economy; space: place; black: white; man: woman; nature: culture; local: global; and time: space; explains the significance of these binaries in the constitution of geographic thought; and shows how many of these binaries have been interrogated and re-imagined in more recent geographical thinking. A consideration of these binaries (...) will define the concepts and situate students in the most current geographical arguments and debates. The text will be required reading for all modules on the philosophy of geography and on geographical theory. (shrink)
Ron Johnston (1982). Drawing the Limits. In D. R. Oldroyd (ed.), Science and Ethics: Papers Presented at a Symposium Held Under the Aegis of the Australian Academy of Science, University of New South Wales, November 7, 1980. New South Wales University Press.