Duty to Care versus Personal Safety: Dilemmas faced by outbreak responders
PI - Dr. Gary Kobinger

In resource limited settings, outbreak responders including healthcare providers are particularly vulnerable to infections during infectious disease outbreaks. The high level of casualties amongst healthcare workers ignited debates about whether as caregivers they have a duty to attend victims of lethal epidemics, or if they have a right to stay away from work during such emergencies.

The goal of this project aims at providing guidelines to healthcare workers during infectious disease outbreaks in order to help them deal with potential ethical dilemmas. These guidelines will be designed so that as many patients as possible are given the care they require, whilst securing the safety of healthcare workers and safeguarding the functionality of the healthcare system beyond the contagion.

This work is performed in collaborations with healthcare workers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo which have experienced Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and/or Ebola virus outbreaks. Specifically, we aim to conduct oral interviews with local healthcare providers to fill up a questionnaire that will be used to better understand the perspectives, opportunities, and constraints that they experienced. Their answers will be invaluable to draft recommendations regarding policies to address the ethical dilemmas they may face while minimizing casualties in outbreak responders.

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