Aid when there is ‘nothing left to offer’: Responding to the needs of patients who are dying or likely to die in a humanitarian crisis
with Matthew Hunt, Associate Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Abstract: Wars, disasters and epidemics affect millions of individuals every year. International non-governmental organizations respond to many of these crises and provide healthcare in settings ranging from a field hospital deployed after an earthquake, to a health clinic in a longstanding refugee camp, to a treatment center during an infectious disease outbreak. A primary focus of these activities is to save lives. However, inevitably, many patients cannot be saved. I will present findings from a study investigating palliative and supportive care in situations of humanitarian crisis. Drawing on interviews with humanitarian workers, I focus here on health professionals’ experiences of providing or being unable to provide care that addresses suffering and upholds dignity in situations that are characterized by urgency and elevated needs, and consider how such care intersects with humanitarian and professional values.
Matthew Hunt, PT, PhD
Matthew Hunt is an Associate Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. A faculty member in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, he is also a researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and an associate member of the McGill Biomedical Ethics Unit and Institute for Health and Social Policy. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the Mason Institute in January 2018.
Matthew’s research interests are at the intersections of ethics, global health and rehabilitation. He currently leads research projects related to the provision of palliative care in humanitarian emergencies, equity and access to rehabilitation services, and oversight of research in situations of crisis. Matthew also heads a capacity building project for rehabilitation providers in Haiti and co-leads the Humanitarian Health Ethics Research Group (humanitarianhealthethics.net).
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