Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fear, Ethics and Ebola

It seems that Ebola preparedness continues to occupy much of my time. My blogging has been very ''light'' as of the last month or so.

I came across some interesting articles this past weekend. Here is a thought provoking article in the New York Times on the ethics of infection. In particular, the author explores the ethical obligation of a potentially infected person, such as a healthcare worker who has cared for an Ebola patient,  to personally limit contact with others. This is an important concept as the notion of the collective good is frequently counter cultural in the USA, where individual rights prevail.  

The NY Times Magazine article on fear and Ebola by Abraham Verghese is a worthy read. Dr. Verghese likens much of the current Ebola fear to that of the panic in the early 1980's with the appearance of AIDS. Public fear can lead to concerning negative consequences such as punishing healthcare workers rather than rewarding them after they put themselves at risk by caring for patients with Ebola. We do not need fewer volunteers in this crisis.

Misguided and misinformed notions can significantly stifle the dangerous and laudable work that is required to limit the current Ebola epidemic.

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