Summit To Address Pandemic-Related Medical Ethics

by Rick Howlett on July 14, 2008

Public health officials from across the country will convene in Indiana today and tomorrow for a summit to discuss ethical and policy issues that might come up during an influenza pandemic.

The summit, in Indianapolis, is hosted by the Indiana University Center for Bioethics.

Center Director Dr. Eric Meslin says if there is a large-scale outbreak, some difficult decisions will have to be made.

“Right now we have criteria for who should be placed on a ventilator, how long they should stay, and when they should be removed from that ventilator. That’s always raised ethical issues in medicine, but in a pandemic influenza where there are not enough ventilators to go around, were going to have to adjust and amend those standards of care,” Meslin said.

Public health officials from every U.S. state and territory are expected to attend the summit.

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