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In the Global North, internists do not treat children and general surgeons do not prescribe eyeglasses – why should this be different in the Global South?

Lowering the standard of medical care for those in low-resource communities is unprofessional, unsafe, unethical, and often illegal.(18) The following account of a first-year medical student’s mission experience illustrates the dangers of relying on untrained medical volunteers: “After finishing my first year of medical school, I participated in a mission trip to Mexico.

It is unclear whether the short-term projects are treating only individuals who under current circumstances would have absolutely no access to medical care because of an inability to pay for it, or if they are diverting some otherwise paying or potentially paying patients from local practitioners and facilities.

The operative principle seems to be that some surgery, however expert, is better than none.Montgomery summarizes some of the risks of cultural ignorance in medical missions: These attitudes also manifest themselves through an assumption that no special planning or localized knowledge is needed and participants frequently have a lack of awareness and training regarding other medical systems, beliefs, or practices.Sometimes local beliefs and practices are ridiculed and, therefore, discounted and not taken seriously.These [Western physician] tourists are often working outside their trained specialty or have little concept of how that specialty applies to Nepal.They frequently don’t understand local illness presentation, culture, or language.

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