Bioethics Blogs

A raging epidemic of bioethical commentary

I don’t think I have seen so much bioethics commentary about a single topic — in such a short span of time — since I got interested in the field. Talk about Ebola is spreading and multiplying far faster and wider than the virus. It is definitely flavour of the month, and as for how many infectious disease bioethicists there are out there, who knew?  Even the ones I thought were more into enhancement or face transplants or some other shiny object of bioethical curiosity are getting in on the action. Decent analyses are being written, it’s not that. It is more about where they all were for the last decades, or even in the last years, when cholera, ebola, dengue, malaria and other (neglected) disease threats have been popping up all around developing countries. Does it really have to (frankly) affect a couple white folks from the North before it gets hot and happening? I already knew that Western media outlets are self-absorbed ambulance chasers but …

OK, I am being overly harsh. I just hope there is more to the bioethics coverage than what-measures-are-appropriate-to-combat-spread-of-terrifying-disease-or-stop-it-from-getting-to-our-shores. The ethics of urgency, Ethics 911. Ebola’s rise and spread in Western Africa is a symptom of what kind of shape those countries are in, not just their health care systems but the social and political circumstances in which those systems are embedded. Ebola can only thrive in messed up places. My prediction is that once Ebola has been contained, attention to the driving forces of poor health in developing countries will get as much attention from bioethicists as it generally gets.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.