When Healthcare Hurts: An Evidence-Based Guide for Best Practices in Global Health

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By Greg Seager. Published by AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN, 2012
ISBN 978-1-4685-8121 (soft cover) — also in hard cover, Kindle, and e-book
The soft cover and hard cover versions have 296 pages. Amazon charges 19.95 and 29.99 respectively. The Kindle and e-book versions are much less expensive.

This book is written for professionals and their assistants who want to go on medical mission trips and be as helpful as possible. The author is a nurse with a lot of experience in international medical missions.

He notes that often trip participants, even with the best of intentions, fail to maintain the level of professional care on a medical mission trip that they would use back home.

One example is a team that gave away pills and vitamins in plastic baggies instead of child-proof containers. A mother who received them for her children did not understand the directions. One of her children got into the baggies and died as a result of an accidental overdose.

Some volunteer teams go to places where there are already medical professionals and sources of supplies. Teams follow each other so often that the local providers can’t compete against free services and goods. Some local medical professionals even have had to change course and drive taxicabs to support their families.

The picture Seager paints is not all negative. He says that there certainly is a need for medical missions–especially in areas where local service is not available or affordable, but participants should do their homework first.

This well-documented book has a tremendous amount of useful information. Ideally, it should be read several months in advance by anyone going on a medical mission trip. Seager donates the profits of his book to Christian Health Service Corps, of which he is the Chief Executive Officer.