HEC Forum

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 105–113 | Cite as

Ethical Issues of Medical Missions: The Clinicians’ View

  • Barbara B. OttEmail author
  • Robert M. Olson


Surgery is an important part of health care worldwide. Without access to surgical treatments, morbidity and mortality increase. Access to surgical treatment is a significant problem in global public health because surgical services are not equally distributed in the world. There is a disproportionate scarcity of surgical access in low-income countries. There are many charitable organizations around the world that sponsor surgical missions to under served nations. One such organization is Operation Smile International, a group with which both authors have volunteered. This paper will describe the purpose and processes involved in Operation Smile and identify some of the key ethical issues that arise in short term medical volunteer work highlighting the importance of sustainability.


Ethics Medical mission Surgical mission Short term medical mission Cleft lip repair Cleft palate repair 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of NursingVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  2. 2.College of MedicineDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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