A collection of pandemic and infectious disease control scenarios, intended to stimulate ethical reflection within the public health sector.
The discipline of moral philosophy has much to offer public health. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than when planning for and responding to widespread emergencies such as an influenza pandemic, which requires making difficult decisions under conditions of stress, uncertainty, and scarcity of resources.
This collection of 11 case studies extracted from existing documents or research proposals is intended to provoke reflection on the use of ethical analysis in public health practice. The general aim of this series of cases is to illustrate a wide range of pandemic and infectious disease control scenarios in which professional roles and responsibilities generate ethically complex situations. Covering issues related to the powers and duties of public health officials and health care providers, and designed to place ethical issues related to preparing and responding to outbreaks in practical contexts, the cases aim to assist in the development and application of moral reasoning through concrete examples.
Clear-cut answers are difficult and perhaps impossible to find in complex situations involving values and ethical reasoning such as those raised in this series of cases. However, the cases are intended to stimulate thinking and to raise key considerations about how ethical principles come into play, in order to help both individuals and institutions make better decisions in difficult times.