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Ideology and Microbiology: Ebola, Science, and Deliberative Democracy
Joseph J. Fins

It now seems a lifetime ago. The first case of Ebola had come to the Western hemisphere and taken the life of Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas, Texas hospital. His death, and other cases in the “developed” world, led to a predictable media deluge, a good bit of hysteria, and predictable political posturing. As the November election approached, fear and ideology took hold, with calls for quaranti...

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Target Article

Selecting the Right Tool For the Job
Arthur L. Caplan, Carolyn Plunkett & Bruce Levin

There are competing ethical concerns when it comes to designing any clinical research study. Clinical trials of possible treatments for Ebola virus are no exception. If anything, the competing ethical concerns are exacerbated in trying to find answers to a deadly, rapidly spreading, infectious disease. The primary goal of current research is to identify experimental therapies that can cure Ebola o...

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Examining the Ethics of Clinical Use of Unproven Interventions Outside of Clinical Trials During the Ebola Epidemic
Seema K. Shah, David Wendler & Marion Danis

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa began in the spring of 2014 and has since caused the deaths of over 6,000 people. Since there are no approved treatments or prevention modalities specifically targeted at Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), debate has focused on whether unproven interventions should be offered to Ebola patients outside of clinical trials. Those engaged in the debate have responded r...

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Kaci Hickox: Public Health and the Politics of Fear
Steven H. Miles

Kaci Hickox was a nurse who worked with persons who were infected with Ebola in West Africa. When she returned to the United States, the governors of New Jersey and Maine intervened to confine her to inpatient quarantine despite the fact that she was asymptomatic and had no serological evidence of infection. She defied the quarantine which resulted in enormous public attention and discussion of qu...

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Ebola, Team Communication, and Shame: But Shame on Whom?
Sarah E. Shannon

Examined as an isolated situation, and through the lens of a rare and feared disease, Mr. Duncan’s case seems ripe for second-guessing the physicians and nurses who cared for him. But viewed from the perspective of what we know about errors and team communication, his case is all too common. Nearly 440,000 patient deaths in the U.S. each year may be attributable to medical errors. Breakdowns...

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Caring for the Suffering: Meeting the Ebola Crisis Responsibly
Philip M. Rosoff

The current Ebola virus epidemic in Western Africa appears to be spiraling out of control. The worst-case projections suggested that the unchecked spread could result in almost 1.4 million cases by the end of January 2015 with a case fatality rate of at least 50%. The United States and European nations have begun to respond in earnest with promises of supplies, isolation beds, and trained health c...

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