Criticized, Fired, Sued, or Prosecuted: Hindsight and Public Health Accountability

132 (6) Public Health Reports 676-678 (2017)

Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2018-47

9 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2018

See all articles by Lance Gable

Lance Gable

Wayne State University Law School

James Buehler

Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health

Date Written: July 30, 2017

Abstract

The charges filed by Michigan prosecutors against state public health officials related to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Flint raise difficult questions about accountability and responsibility for public health officials. Judging by the facts as alleged in the criminal charges, the circumstances in the Michigan case appear to be extreme and not representative of the usual ways that public health officials make difficult decisions with the public’s interest at heart. Accountability is vital, but those concerned with good public health leadership must distinguish between reasonable decisions made in good faith that nevertheless turn out to be incorrect and unreasonable actions that harm public health and deserve accountability. Several viable options exist to achieve accountability when things go wrong and public health decision-making leads to harm.

Keywords: Flint, public health, accountability, government officials, governance, crisis, health, water, environment

JEL Classification: I18, K32, K10, K14

Suggested Citation

Gable, Lance and Buehler, James, Criticized, Fired, Sued, or Prosecuted: Hindsight and Public Health Accountability (July 30, 2017). 132 (6) Public Health Reports 676-678 (2017) , Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2018-47, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3215482

Lance Gable (Contact Author)

Wayne State University Law School ( email )

471 Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

James Buehler

Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States
267-359-6019 (Phone)
267-359-6001 (Fax)

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