Restoring Vision: An Ethical Perspective on Doctors Curing Blindness around the World

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This book explores what motivates eye doctors to heal among the world's poor, and why this kind of service strikes us so deeply. It combines the topics of medicine, public health, and medical ethics across cultures, including Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India, China, Pakistan, and the United States. The first chapter, "Charity, an extended definition" is a discussion of contemporary and traditional notions of charity in the religious and cultural settings where the doctors are serving. "Caring and curing: The physician in the community" explores how medicine has traditionally served a community and the problems Western, particularly American doctors perceive in maintaining that tradition. "The eye" is a tribute to the marvel and complexity of the eye, including its physiological, clinical, and metaphorical aspects. The "Exempla" section is the bulk of the book, containing personal stories of ophthalmologists in eight countries who are treating the poor, medical data on each country, descriptions of the physical and cultural settings that color their work, and the author's own reactions. There is a wide range of physicians here—missionaries, those in private practice including some from privileged backgrounds, survivors of the Cultural Revolution in China, a distinguished Hindu family in India. This book offers excellent reading for a variety of medical school classes, public health programs, courses in international medicine and courses in medical ethics. Restoring Vision will also appeal to physicians in private practice and trainees for foreign service.

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Editorial Reviews

Louis Pizzarello
I found it a wonderfully moving treatment of a complicated topic. The motivation that allows physicians to assist fellow humans in need is described in a series of vignettes, each one giving a slightly different perspective...These stories need a wide audience, not only to speak to the good of man but also to encourage others to come forward.
Dr. B. Thylefors
...[the] analysis of charity is excellent in its historical and cultural perspective, particularly in the light of today's debate on social solidarity and equal opportunities for the is the first time that there has been an indepth consideration of the ethical perspective of physicians' work and a specific medical act.
Morton F. Goldberg
Anyone who never knew or who has forgotten why ophthalmologists are indispensable to society should read this book...What a welcome relief! What a breath of fresh air!
Sue Stevens
A very enjoyable read—material which will not date. Anecdoted chapters are unbiased and will appeal to a wide readership. We are delighted to have this book at the Resource Centre.
Discusses issues of medical charity, moral responsibility, and the role of the physician in the community, and details the origins and activities of clinics restoring sight to the blind in areas such as Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, India, and Pakistan. Describes equipment and medical conditions at the clinics and their social context, and recounts the careers of those who oversee and staff the clinics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761801160
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 1/10/1996
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Tela Zasloff is a writer and editor living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She formerly taught in the English departments of Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric, and Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh. She is also the author of Saigon Dreaming: Recollections of Indochina Days (St. Martin's Press, 1990).

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