Table of Contents

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.

Chapter 34: Ethics of medical tourism

Guido Pennings

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


The chapter analyses two questions: first, how should we evaluate the effects of medical tourism? Second, who should be held responsible for these effects? The first question is answered by presenting four theories of justice that can be applied to the outcomes of medical tourism. These theories do not generate a common answer on a considerable number of points. The second question is answered by referring to the liability model of responsibility. In order to avoid over-inflated obligations, responsibility should be linked to causation of harm. A flexible application of this principle attributes responsibility to states for the negative consequences of their own policy and to medical tourists for the health care capacity reduction in destination countries when health care services outside the package of decent health care are pursued.

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