Shaping Ethical Guidelines for an Influenza Pandemic
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This chapter describes the process of shaping ethical guidelines for an influenza pandemic by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NC IOM)/North Carolina Department of Public Health (NCDPH) Task Force. The author discusses the threat of a pandemic in the twenty-first century, comparing a potential pandemic with past flu pandemics as well as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Canada and parts of Asia. Also discussed are the ways in which influenza would spread, be treated, and hopefully contained. Addressed are the ways in which one becomes ethically prepared for an influenza pandemic, as well as the challenges to incorporating ethical guidelines in preparations. Tong also addresses the role of a duty/obligation/responsibility to work by health care personnel, the role of volunteers, and when health care personnel may refuse to treat someone. Also taken into consideration are such issues as the distribution of food and vaccines, quarantines, work stoppage, both physical and social infrastructure, the role of military and police forces, and the effect of a pandemic, isolation, and quarantine on various industries. Tong shows the complicated nature of working on a task force and the complexity of incorporating ethics into logistical planning.
KeywordsInfluenza pandemic Avian flu flu vaccine health care personnel bioethics obligation responsibility ethics of care quarantine North Carolina Public Health international public health
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