Throughout the history of civilization, we have often heard that sometimes, in order to defend the continuity of the society as a whole, the people in authority must make decisions or perform actions that might be beyond the comprehension of most members of the society. For instance, in times when the Ebola virus is spreading in Africa, the quarantined villages are guarded by military arms that will shot anyone trying to cross the borderline of the villages. The military soldiers have indeed killed quite many Africans that attempted to escape.
Despite their ethical abomination nature, these measures are considered necessary at the time to prevent the virus from spreading into other regions and practically killing more people. Within extreme situations, these difficult decisions are known to be a part of life, even within civilized communities. Some might believe that those times are practically over, and making difficult decisions like that would never have to be the responsibility of humanity any longer. These beliefs however, have been proven wrong by the presence of SARS that have recently terrorized the homeland US.
Since then, the government realized that they must be prepared the next time those horrible situations take place. Today however, the society has been more civilized. Ethical considerations in every conduct of the authority are hold very much higher today as a critical component of the society. Thus, preparing for the next emergency situations means that the authority must also make the society to agree upon a set of values that will guide the definition of which conduct are deemed ethical and which are not, within the emergency situation.
In relation to that strain of thought, in this short paper I am discussing the role of health care providers within the perspective of today’s ethical values. The core of the discussion is regarding what is or should be expected from a health care provider, when their services are needed, during a possible life threatening situations. II. JCB’s Position on the Extent of Health Providers’ Obligations The University of Toronto’s Joint Care for Bioethics (JCB) had assembled a working group that is particularly discussing ethical issues that might arise from the next biological threat that we could face in the future, the pandemic flu (H5N1).
The JCB working group has develop four major ethical issues, along with specific recommendations for each of them. One of these four major ethical issue is the regarding the duty of health workers during a communicable disease outbreak. According to the working group, the basis that could explain the extent of health providers’ responsibilities during a communicable disease outbreak is divided into two, the demanding basis and the humanity basis. The demanding basis of the measurement is built over three core arguments, which are:
• The possession of ability Under this argument, the JCB Working Group believe that, under demanding situations, health workers are to some extent, under the obligation to provide care because of the knowledge and skills they have. This is in line with the philosophy that by owning a certain kind of ability or skill that others might not have, a person is within a social responsibility to use that particular skill for the good of the community, especially in critical times. • The choice of profession