Article ID: CBB559871870

The Role of Physicians During Hunger Strikes of Undocumented Migrant Workers in a Non-Custodial Setting (2019)


Rita Vanobberghen (Author)
Fred Louckx (Author)
Anne-Marie Depoorter (Author)
Dirk Devroey (Author)
Jan Vandevoorde (Author)

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Volume: 62
Issue: 1
Pages: 111-130
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the living conditions of undocumented migrant workers in Belgium have deteriorated drastically. In Brussels, after various social actions, undocumented people began squatting and occupying public buildings to make their struggle visible to society. Desperate, some seized the possibility of a loophole in Belgian law that permits ill persons to have access to a temporary residence permit and started hunger striking. Confronted with consecutive strikes, medical teams of voluntary health professionals faced a big dilemma. A search of the medical literature yielded information about the overall and specific tasks of health professionals during hunger strikes in custodial and hospital settings, but no scientific guidelines were found to address the specific problems the team was confronted with. Information was collected about 15 hunger strikes over a period of seven years, involving the participation of 1,158 strikers. This article describes the medical, organizational, and ethical difficulties encountered in the follow-up of hunger strikes in non-custodial settings, including those associated with the establishment of a health-care structure, operation with very limited resources, and communication with the media and other health professionals.

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Authors & Contributors
Maehle, Andreas-Holger
Atwood-Gailey, Elizabeth Mary
Blumenthal, Susanna L.
Buerki, Robert A.
Faunce, Thomas Alured
Fortuna, Stefania
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
History of Psychiatry
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
University of Tennessee
Duke University Press
Harvard University Press
Martinus Nijhoff/Brill
Martinus Nijhoff [imprint of Kluwer Law International]
Medicine and ethics
Medicine and law
Physicians; doctors
Biology and ethics; bioethics
Hippocrates of Cos
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
United States
Human Genome Project
National Institute of Health (U.S.)
Chinese Communist Party

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