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Medical Ethical Standards in Mental Health Care for Victims of Organised Violence, Refugees and Displaced Persons
  1. J Stuart Horner
  1. Professor of Medical Ethics, University of Central Lancashire

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    Loes van Willigen, Utrecht, Royal Tropical Institute, 1998, 119 pages, £17.95

    I opened this book, eager to discover the medical ethical problems of torture and systematic abuse of citizens, arising from “unethical interventions and unethical professional attitudes”. At the end of the book I was little wiser. Of course, torture and abuse of human rights are unethical and an affront to human dignity, but what are these ethical standards which health care workers must adopt? Firstly, the book is only incidentally concerned with torture. Secondly, most of the issues which it identifies - autonomy, consent, cross-cultural approaches and the avoidance of cultural imperialism are common to a variety of settings. Indeed the book states, “these goals are generally considered self-evident.....”.

    Perhaps the most valuable contribution questions the appropriateness of counselling, …

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