Ethics in a Public Health Emergency

Legal & Ethical
Online Course
1 hour
Texas A&M University
Training and Education Collaborative PERLC

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Emergency situations create the need to consider response measures in light of ethics. Emergencies create limited resources needing efficient allocation and the need to evenly distribute burden and benefit. Due to the limited number of resources available in an emergency response, not all individuals will be able to receive the same treatment. This limitation poses many ethical considerations to be made including who and when to evacuate, and measures that can be made in order to minimize burden and maximize benefit. These tough decisions should be discussed before an emergency and developed into emergency operation planning.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Describe the limitation of resources and the need to allocate resources in a public health emergency
  • Discuss the rationale for the restriction of individual rights in a public health emergency
  • Distinguish specific restriction measures and how these are ordered at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Describe how ethical considerations impact evacuation and treatment in an emergency
  • State the goals of providers in a public health emergency and how this may alter standards of care
PHEP Capabilities: 
Emergency Operations Coordination