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Dermatology and ethics: some case studies

Praveen B E Rodrigues


The field of dermatology is seen by many in the medical fraternity as a “hassle-free” subject. However, it has its role to play from a public health viewpoint. People’s skin is the focus of much debate in India. Most public health issues relating to dermatology in India stem from poverty. At the same time, the focus of dermatology has been drawn to issues of excess: cosmetology, beauty awareness, obesity and expensive new modalities of treatment. Dermatology also encompasses three distinct areas: skin, sexually transmitted diseases and leprosy. I shall highlight for discussion some encounters which have raised ethical questions relating to public health.

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