Gostin adds that while the circumstances of Bach’s case may seem exceptional, he sees her actions as stemming from an attitude many Americans bring to developing countries.
“The American cultural narrative is that these countries are basket cases.”
And so, says Gostin, Americans assume that whatever their qualifications, they’re sure to be of help.
The result, Gostin says, is that everyone from college kids to credentialed doctors routinely parachute into poor countries for medical missions that completely disregard local laws and conditions.
“People think that they’re doing good. And they have no idea how much harm they can cause.”
And people back home in the U.S. are often complicit, says Gostin. Because when these volunteers write blogs or post videos to share their exploits, “They’re celebrated.”