AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. September 2004, Volume 6, Number 9.

Test Questions

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Test Questions: Medicine and Human Rights

Medicine and Human Rights


A visitor to the US comes to Dr. Cartwright 's office for help in seeking asylum from the abuse of her husband "back home." According to commentors on this case, Dr. Cartwright should:

A. Provide a report of her medical findings to the US Immigration office and indicate whether they are compatible with intimate partner abuse.
B. Provide a report of her medical findings to the US Immigration office with no interpretation as to whether they are compatible with intimate partner abuse.
C. Explain compassionately to her patient that spousal abuse is not considered just cause for political asylum in the US.
D. Arrange for necessary follow-up clinical and psychological care for her patient.
E. A and D.
F. B and C.


Sixteen-year-old Theresa visits Dr. Ward and requests a prescription for the "morning after" pill. Dr. Ward is opposed to abortion and to the "morning after" pill. According to commentors in this case, Dr. Ward should:

A. Prescribe the pill for Theresa despite his personal objections.
B. Inform Theresa 's parents of her request.
C. Refer Theresa to another physician who will prescribe the pill for her.
D. Help Theresa get to the nearest town where there is a physician willing to prescribe the pill for her.


Dr. Bernard offers charity care to Luis, but when the news spreads, non-paying patients begin to overwhelm his practice. According to the commentor on this case, Dr. Bernard:

A. Has a professional "charity care" obligation to see the patients who come to his office, whether they can pay or not.
B. Should consider reserving one day a week for booking patients who are uninsured or have Medicaid.
C. Should advocate with his local medical society or his local government for better access to services for uninsured or underinsured patients.
D. Is not obligated to see an indigent patient who did not obtain an appointment.
E. B and C.
F. B, C, and D.


According to the author of the Clinical Pearl, the most common psychological sequelae of torture documented in the Istanbul Protocol, are:

A. Substance abuse.
B. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
C. Major depression.
D. All of the above.
E. B and C.


A study conducted by Physicians for Human Rights and highlighted in this month 's Journal Discussion found that Iraqi medical doctors participated in state-sponsored torture and misrepresented or fabricated death certificates. These practices breach internationally accepted declarations like those made by which of the following:

A. World Medical Association 's Code of Ethics.
B. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
C. Iraq 's Interim Constitution of 1990.
D. Iraqi Penal Code.
E. All of the above.


The authors of the Medical Education article advocate a rights-based approach to medicine that incorporates the following into the medical school curriculum:

A. Integration of human rights principles to existing medical school classes.
B. Periodic lectures and grand rounds for students, residents, faculty, and staff.
C. The use of experiential fellowships or internships.
D. Student investigations and presentations on human rights topics to the class.
E. All of the above.
F. B and D.


In the Medicine and Society article about the mental health of prisoners, what is the physician 's unique role?

A. Use his or her skills in responding to global conditions and need for care.
B. Refrain from supporting or committing crimes against humanity and condemn all such acts.
C. Advocate for political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.
D. Advocate for humane conditions of detention, fair legal processes, adequate medical and psychiatric care, and appropriate psycho-legal evaluations.


Various opinions in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics offer guidance to physicians for treating death row inmates who are, like Charles Singleton, only deemed competent when maintained on psychotropic drugs. According to those opinions:

A. Physicians should never prescribe or administer antipsychotic medication for such inmates because doing so involves them in capital punishment.
B. Physicians should never prescribe a court-ordered treatment without the inmate-patient 's consent.
C. Physicians can prescribe and administer the medication for such inmates because, once inmates are declared incompetent, the state becomes the inmate 's surrogate decision maker and physicians act ethically when they carry out the state/surrogate 's wishes.
D. Physicians may only participate in treatment to which the patient does not consent and that will make him eligible for execution if commutation proceedings are under way.
E. A and B.


The AMA House of Delegates approved recommendations governing so-called "dual-use" research. The new policy, which will soon become part of the Code of Medical Ethics:

A. Asks physician-researchers to evaluate all possible uses of the research in which they intend to engage and to help set standards for the actions of other researchers as well.
B. Forbids physicians to participate in any basic or clinical research the outcome of which could be put to intentional harmful purposes.
C. Is concerned exclusively with physician-researchers ' willing participation in research that can be put to malevolent ends, not with unwilling or unintentional participation.
D. Is specific to genetic and xenotransplantation research.
E. Is specific to research that can lead to development of biological weapons.


The Op-Ed article that discusses whether health care is a "right," reaches the following conclusion:

A. Receiving basic health care is a right of all US citizens.
B. The argument that health care is a right is not philosophically valid.
C. Right-based arguments may not be the most effective way of increasing health benefits for the uninsured.
D. Health care reform will only follow when we are convinced as a nation that health care is a right.
E. A and D.

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