International medical travel occurs when patients cross national borders to purchase medical goods and services. On occasion, physicians in home countries will be the last point of domestic contact for patients seeking healthcare information before they travel abroad for care. When this is the case, physicians have a unique opportunity to inform patients about their options and help guide them towards ethical practices. This opportunity brings to the fore an important question: What role should physicians in more-developed home countries play in promoting or constraining international medical travel towards less-developed destination countries? In our view, critical attention to the decision spaces of patients—defined by the personal circumstances, socio-cultural cues, and legal constraints that inform decision-making—is a useful starting point for evaluating the proper response of physicians to various forms of international medical travel.
- medical travel
- waiting lists
- philosophical ethics
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GC and FB were equal contributors.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.