(in Polish) Disaster bioethics 3501-DB20-S
Earth is a planet of disasters. Only in 2019 there were a total of 409 natural disasters events worldwide causing roughly 11,000 deaths, affecting more than 100 million people and generating economic losses of USD 232 billion. Disasters are not only unforeseen and often sudden events of natural or human origin that cause great human suffering and damage. Disasters “seriously disrupt the functioning of a community or society and cause human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources” (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC). Therefore, disasters are social and political as much as they are material or biological. Ethically appropriate responses to disasters have to reflect these both dimensions.
The seminar explores ethical aspects of natural and human-made disasters with a particular focus on ethics in disaster and emergency medicine. Its primary goal is to acquaint students with the basic issues and problems of disaster bioethics. Secondarily, it is designed to help students develop analytical and argumentative skills necessary for identifying, examining and resolving ethical dilemmas in disaster and emergency medicine as well as disaster prevention and management. The course covers following topics:
Introduction to disaster bioethics
1. What is disaster?
2. Disasters and public health ethics
3. Disasters, global bioethics, and humanitarianism
Medical ethics and disaster
4. Natural and human history of the Haitian Earthquake
5. Medical ethics and medical humanitarian practice
6. Ethics of disaster triage
7. Ethics of research in the aftermath of disaster
Ethics and infectious disease
8. Natural and human history of Covid-19 pandemic
9. Epidemics/pandemics and the duty to treat
10. Ethics of rationing scares medical resources in epidemics/pandemics
11. Ethics of using and testing unproven interventions in epidemics/pandemics
12. Ethics of non-medical countermeasures against epidemics/pandemics
Bioethics and armed conflicts
13. Medical ethics at war
14. Ethics, terrorism, supreme emergency
Type of course
At the end of the course, the student has knowledge and understanding of:
- the role of ethics and bioethics in disaster and emergency medicine;
- multi- and interdisciplinary terminology used in disaster bioethics;
- main issues and problems of disaster bioethics, as well as main philosophical positions, axiological and normative approaches, and argumentation strategies used in disaster bioethics;
- the importance of socio-cultural, legal, political and economic factors for the practice and development of disaster and emergency medicine.
At the end of the course, the student is able to:
- identify and analyze ethical problems in disaster and emergency medicine;
- critically examine views and arguments developed by other authors, including other students, or presented in the seminar readings;
- prepare a written critical analysis of an article on the subject of the seminar;
- prepare and deliver oral presentation on the subject of the seminar.
At the end of the course, the student is able and ready to:
- critically evaluate the quality of received or acquired information;
- recognize the importance of ethics and bioethics as well as bioethical education for solving moral dilemmas in disaster and emergency medicine;
- engage in developing bioethics in general, and disaster bioethics in particular, both in theory and practice;
- recognize ethical problems and challenges related to his or her own research and professional activity, to promote relevant ethical standards.
The final grade will be based on:
(1) student’ preparation and activity (insightful participation in the seminar discussions and class group works) – 40%;
(2) oral presentation on a seminar topic – 30%;
(3) written critical analysis of an article on a seminar topic – 30%
Final grades will be assigned on the following percentages:
100-90% – 5,0; 89-85% – 4,5; 84-75% – 4,0; 74-70% – 3,5; 69-60% – 3,0; 59-0% – 2,0
Permissible number of absences: 2
Main sources of readings (in alphabetical order):
- G.J. Annas, Worst Case Bioethics: Death, Disaster, and Public Health, Oxford University Press 2010.
- M.P. Battin, L.P. Francis, J.A. Jacobson, Ch.B. Smith eds. The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Disease, Oxford Univeristy Press 2009.
- M.L. Gross, Bioethics and Armed Conflict: Moral Dilemmas of Medicine and War, MIT 2006.
- D.P.O’Mathúna, B. Gordijn, M. Clarke Eds., Disaster Bioethics. Normative Issues when Nothing in Normal. Springer: Dordrecht 2014.
- H. Rodriguez, E.L. Quarantelli, R. Dynes eds., Handbook of Disaster Research. Springer, 2009.
- A.M. Viens ed.,Emergency Research Ethics, Series: The Library of Essays on Emergency Ethics, Law and Policy, Ashgate 2013.
- A.M. Viens & M.J. Selgelid eds., Emergency Ethics, Series: The Library of Essays on Emergency Ethics, Law and Policy, Ashgate 2012.
Detailed readings list will be provided at first seminar meeting.
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: