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Translating Professional Obligations to Care for Patients With Ebola Virus Disease Into Practice in Nonepidemic Settings

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2015

Jeremy Sugarman*
Affiliation:
Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, Maryland Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
Nancy Kass
Affiliation:
Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, Maryland Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
Cynda H. Rushton
Affiliation:
Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
Mark T. Hughes
Affiliation:
Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, Maryland Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
Thomas D. Kirsch
Affiliation:
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, 1809 Ashland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21205 (e-mail: jsugarman@jhu.edu).

Abstract

Determining how clinicians should meet their professional obligations to treat patients with Ebola virus disease in nonepidemic settings necessitates considering measures to minimize risks to clinicians, the context of care, and fairness. Minimizing risks includes providing appropriate equipment and training, implementing strategies for reducing exposure to infectious material, identifying a small number of centers to provide care, and determining which risky procedures should be used when they pose minimal likelihood of appreciable clinical benefit. Factors associated with the clinical environment, such as the local prevalence of the disease, the nature of the setting, and the availability of effective treatment, are also relevant to obligations to treat. Fairness demands that the best possible medical care be provided for health care professionals who become infected and that the rights and interests of relevant stakeholders be addressed through policy-making processes. Going forward it will be essential to learn from current approaches and to modify them based on data. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:527–530)

Type
Policy Analysis
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015 

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