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Am J Bioeth. 2012;12(9):1-5. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2012.692433.

Can medical repatriation be ethical? Establishing best practices.

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Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


Hospitals in the United States have been engaging in the practice of returning immigrant patients, usually undocumented immigrant patients, to their country of origin when the patient has long-term medical needs for which no reimbursement is available. I argue that for such an action to be ethical, it must be done in accordance with the mission and values of hospitals. I describe three standards that an individual instance of repatriation must meet to be ethical: (1) patient best interests, (2) medical due diligence, and (3) informed consent. I argue that these should form the basis for best practices in regard to medical repatriation for all hospitals in the United States.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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