How should we decide whether and when some care is better than no care?

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Abstract

This case of cleft lip and palate repair by a surgical mission team is common. Low-risk, single-procedure surgical interventions requiring minimal follow-up with substantial quality of life improvement are well suited for this type of mission. However, cleft repair can also be quite complex and require multiple surgeries and other care over time, postoperative surveillance, and speech therapy. These benefits and burdens prompt us to investigate, from clinical and ethical perspectives, whether and when some surgical care is better than none. We argue that, when performing surgical interventions in low- and middle-income countries, mission teams should consider a systems-based approach that emphasizes collaboration, context, and sustainability.

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APA

Koch, R., Meara, J. G., & Wall, A. E. (2019). How should we decide whether and when some care is better than no care? AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/amajethics.2019.729

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