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Hunger strikes in prisons: a narrative systematic review of ethical considerations from a physician’s perspective

  • G. Gulati (a1) (a2), B. D. Kelly (a3), D. Meagher (a2), H. Kennedy (a3) (a4) and C. P. Dunne (a5)...
Abstract
Objectives

We sought to identify and review published studies that discuss the ethical considerations, from a physician’s perspective, of managing a hunger strike in a prison setting.

Methods

A database search was conducted to identify relevant publications. We included case studies, case series, guidelines and review articles published over a 20-year period. Non-English language publications were translated.

Results

The review found 23 papers from 12 jurisdictions published in five languages suitable for inclusion.

Conclusions

Key themes from included publications are identified and summarised in the context of accepted guidelines from the World Medical Association. Whilst there seems to be an overall consensus favouring autonomy over beneficence, tensions along this fine balance are magnified in jurisdictions where legislation leads to a dual loyalty conflict for the physician.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: G. Gulati, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Limerick, Limerick, Ireland and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Ireland. (Email: gautam.gulati@hse.ie)
References
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Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
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