Worst Case Bioethics - Death, Disaster and Public Health

The Journal of Legal Medicine

Posted: 30 Sep 2010

See all articles by Mark A. Rothstein

Mark A. Rothstein

University of Louisville - Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law; University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: September 28, 2010

Abstract

"Worst Case Bioethics" is a term with many possible meanings, some of which may overlap. I use the term to refer to two seperate situations. First, it can involve some real horrendous incidents at the core of bioethics, such as end of life issues, in which fatally flawed reasoning or unwanted politicization of intensenely personal health care decisions compounded heart wrenching situations. These real events are amoung the "worst cases" in the field of bioethics. Second, remotely likely, hypothetical "worst case senarios" of death, destruction, and disaster have been used to justify public policies limiting civil libertties or reflecting unsound public health. "Worst case" analyses have been misapplied to a wide range of commonly anticipated happenings, such as hurricanes and seasonal influenza, thereby equating commonplace public health events with doomsday scenarios of bioterrorism or pandemics.

Keywords: Bioethics, public health, human rights, end of life, pandemics, civil liberties, bioterrorism

JEL Classification: K31, K32

Suggested Citation

Rothstein, Mark A., Worst Case Bioethics - Death, Disaster and Public Health (September 28, 2010). The Journal of Legal Medicine. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1684234

Mark A. Rothstein (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law ( email )

Louisville, KY 40202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.louisville.edu/bioethics

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

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