Emergency Preparedness: Applying Ethical Practices to Deliver Alternative Methods of Care for an Ebola Outbreak in the United States
There are difficult moral questions that the U.S. needs to address while there is still time to think critically, carefully, and calmly about what ethical values should guide decision makers, healthcare workers, and the general public in the event of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. These questions include, among others:
- Do health care workers have a duty to help Ebola victims even if doing so means risking their own lives or those of their families?
- If health care workers bravely accept these risks, what will society give them in return?
- How will Americans react when outbreak containment measures such as isolation and quarantine are implemented?
- Who should have priority for limited healthcare supplies such as vaccines and convalescent blood transfusions?
This presentation will seek to answer these questions by using ethical principles and values and by applying similar ethical guidelines developed for pandemic influenza in the U.S. It is imperative that we ethically maintain the value of justice by directing scarce resources to where they will do the most good for us all and by letting the public know why it is we have chosen a particular distribution method. The preparation for an outbreak will ultimately ensure that the U.S. can survive.
Learning Areas:Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Describe the ethical questions involved in the event of an Ebola outbreak on U.S. soil. Evaluate the principles of public health ethics in developing the guidelines for preparedness for an Ebola outbreak. Compare and contrast the ethical guidelines for pandemic influenza to the ethical guidelines for an Ebola outbreak
Keyword(s): Ethics, Emergency Preparedness
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a doctoral degree in the field of study and have been teaching at the University level for several years in Public Health. I have conducted numerous research studies and projects on ethical issues in public health.
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.