202644 Influenza Pandemic: A Model for Development of Administrative Policies and Procedures to Guide Preparedness for Influenza Pandemic Actions in Catholic Hospitals in Pennsylvania

Monday, November 9, 2009

John Mary Mooka Kamweri, MA , Healthcare Ethics Center, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

A Model for Development of Administrative Policies and Procedures to Guide Preparedness for Influenza Pandemic Actions in Catholic Hospitals in Pennsylvania.

It is critical that Catholic hospitals in Pennsylvania develop provisional administrative policies and procedures to guide actions in the event of an influenza pandemic outbreak. Health officials are concerned that a highly pathogenic influenza A pandemic (H5N1) could occur when the H5N1 strain of bird flu manages to mutate and spread between humans.This could lead to ethical and legal questions about restrictive public health interventions that could disrupt personal liberties like individual autonomy, privacy, confidentiality, freedoms of association, and access to limited supplies.

The Pennsylvania's Influenza Pandemic Response Plan (IPRP), has provisions for mandating the exercise of intrusive powers like culling, isolation and quarantine by public health care workers. Triage and suspension of treatment of non-influenza pandemic related illnesses could present a challenge to the ethical duty-to-care and diminish physician-patient trust relationship. Patient-load will overwhelm physicians and staff who will also be concerned with personal safety.

The provisional administrative policies and procedures seek to propose values to guide ethical decision-making in Catholic hospitals in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak. The values to be considered in policy drafting include: the duty to care, social beneficence, individual liberties, and justice in distribution of scarce resources.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify ethical actions, in a clinical setting, essential for effective reponses to a pandemic influenza emergency. 2. Demonstrate a balance between individual liberties and the protection of the public in developing policies for a pandemic response. 3. Describe the process of formulating policies and procedures from abstract ethical principles.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 1. Masters Degree in Health Care Ethics, Duquesne University (2006) 2. Ph.D on-going, Duquesne University 3. Health Care Ethics Clinical Internship, Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA (300hrs). Did a project on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness. 4. Author (article)"Country Needs a Body to Oversee Fertility Treatment."
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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See more of: Ethics SPIG