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Is health care treatment a human right?

USC director to discuss the topic in keynote at Ireland conference on ethics

Professor Sofia Gruskin, director of the Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the USC Institute for Global Health, will present a keynote address at the National University of Ireland Galway on Feb. 6. The conference is part of Ireland President Michael D. Higgins’ ethics initiative.

Higgins will introduce Gruskin, whose talk will focus on whether medical treatment in the event of sickness is a human right.

In Ireland and many countries, patients and their families don’t often think about that rights-based approach, according to Gruskin.

“One has to be aware that there is often a difference between what governments will say to each other . . . and what they will say at a national level,” Gruskin told The Irish Times. “It is also incredibly important that patients are aware of their rights, and that they — we — know there is a difference between saying ‘Please may I have this?’ and ‘I am entitled to this’ in treatment,” she said. “Medical and health staff have rights too, but they also have responsibilities.”

The meeting is co-hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway.

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