Call made to address ethics of pandemic

Nov. 28, 2005 at 12:38 PM
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TORONTO, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Canadian medical ethicists say response guidelines derived from experience with SARS outbreaks should be drawn up before a possible avian flu pandemic.

After a weekend meeting, the Influenza Pandemic Working Group at the University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics said people need to subscribe in advance to the rationale behind such choices as the priority recipients of resources, including hospital services and medicine; how much risk front-line healthcare workers should take; and support given to people under restrictions such as quarantine.

The report concludes that flu pandemic plans universally need to address four key issues, including health workers' duty to provide care during a communicable disease outbreak; restricting liberty in the interest of public health by measures such as quarantine; priority setting, including the allocation of scarce resources such as medicines; and global governance implications, such as travel advisories.

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