Ethical Issues in Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention



Ethical Issues in Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention


Emily Landon

Cassandra Oehler



Medical ethics are the governing principles that guide a practitioner’s interactions with his or her patients and assist the practitioner in coming to the best decisions for an individual patient while respecting the impact of that patient’s care on the practitioner and on the healthcare system as a whole. Medical ethics calls on physicians to synthesize their clinical reasoning with their moral judgment and often, although not always, to balance competing concerns and values (such as a patient’s family’s reluctance to withdraw intensive care unit [ICU] support and a physician’s clinical judgment that the patient cannot derive medical benefit from such support) in order to produce an appropriate decision. These concerns are very real and often nuanced, and decisions cannot be formulaic or readily prescribed based on a one-size-fits-all approach. Unfortunately, most healthcare practitioners, including infection preventionists and hospital epidemiologists, are either not trained in ethics or undertrained for their specific needs, and it can be difficult to identify ethical issues, much less articulate them clearly if one has not had training in this area. This balancing of ethical concerns takes on a different scope for an infection prevention practitioner, but the basic principles of medical ethics remain both relevant and useful in beginning to understand ethics in this field.


Jun 8, 2021 | Posted by in INFECTIOUS DISEASE | Comments Off on Ethical Issues in Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention
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