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Medical Malpractice Concerns
For those providers who are forced to face malpractice concerns in their practice in the United states a few things should be understood:
“No malpractice claim has ever been filed against any American health care worker providing humanitarian services without charge in the developing world.”(1) The malpractice risk is almost nonexistent as long as the practice is limited to the indigenous population and that care is provided free or at minimal charge.
The only documented malpractice against american physicians in the developing world is the care of “western” patients in “for profit” health centers and hospitals.
There is a small civil liability noted in the developing world. This only involves traffic accidents and accidental injury and death when American health care workers are involved in an incident in a non-medical capacity.
In 2003 a study was done that found that not one volunteer or missionary agency provides malpractice insurance, as coverage of this type in simply not available.
“To summarize, Americans travel and carry their malpractice mentality with them even though malpractice is not an issue in the country where they are traveling. The malpractice liability is in providing care for Americans traveling or living overseas, and charging for those services. There appears to be minimal to no risk in providing free medical care to the indigenous population in poor countries while doing “voluntary” or “humanitarian” service.” (1) 1. W. “Ted” Kuhn: Medical Malpractice in the Developing World. Global Medical Missions, Winepress Publishing, 2007