Human rights: more than avoiding torture
Despite medical students often having good relationships with their patients, we sometimes forget about a patients humanity. Consciously or unconsciously, we talk about patients as “complicated cases,” “textbook cases,” or “journal cases.” If we were a patient, would we like being talked about like that?
We form these attitudes at home, at university, in clinics, in our social lives—in all aspects of our world. How can we avoid these types of attitude? Something that is often forgotten in our medical education is teaching human rights.
We tend to think of human rights as liberty of expression and struggle against torture. But we forget that one fundamental human right is the right to health; as health professionals we must collaborate to preserve it, as agreed more than 50 years ago.1
Three important points need thought.2 Firstly, do the politics of health have a negative or positive effect on human rights? Secondly,