Janet L. Dolgin, the Jack and Freda Dicker Distinguished Professor of Health Care Law and director of the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy at Hofstra Law, was featured in the December 2014 cover story of the Medical Ethics Advisor newsletter, “Ebola Spotlights Growing Tension Between Autonomy and Public Health.”
Professor Dolgin focuses on the need for bioethicists to be part of the conversation on issues surrounding treatments for Ebola patients, especially those that might prose a risk to health care providers.
She notes that one ethical concern with Ebola is to avoid treatment. “That’s a product of fear rather than well-thought-out responses,” she says. She also calls for policies but cautions, “At the same time we need to be ready to challenge them.”
Professor Dolgin stresses that bioethicists are well suited to help craft organizational policies in light of their dual focus on population health and the health of individuals.
In the article, writer Stacey Kusterbeck also reviews the history of bioethics and asks Professor Dolgin to weigh in on where the discipline stands on Ebola.
In discussing the roots of bioethics, Professor Dolgin notes the field’s “enormous stress” on patient autonomy but concludes, “If Ebola is controlled fairly soon, then we won’t face these issues in the context of Ebola. But we will face them with other conditions.”
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