this pressed for your right to know: BBC News – Ebola: When health workers’ duty to treat is trumped

Doctors preparing to treat Ebola patients Medical staff must wear protective suits whenever they treat Ebola patients

The president of the World Bank has urged thousands of health workers to volunteer in the battle against Ebola, invoking their duty under their oath to help patients. But is there such an obligation? Medical ethicist Dr Daniel Sokol says we should expect some healthcare staff to refuse to go to work, wherever Ebola patients are being treated.

In all major Ebola outbreaks, medical staff have fled health centres, leaving dying patients behind. This one is no exception.

Seeing colleagues succumb to the disease, many doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians have failed to turn up to work, putting even greater pressure on those who remain.

If several cases of Ebola emerged in the UK, it would be naive to assume that no healthcare worker would refuse to work.

In 2003, I worked as an intern in clinical ethics at a hospital in Toronto. That was the city most affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outside Asia, with about 250 people infected.

Of those, about half were health workers. Posters lined the walls of the hospital, hailing the staff as heroes.

via BBC News – Ebola: When health workers’ duty to treat is trumped.

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