At the end of 2002 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) emerged and spread worldwide. The pathogen was unknown, as was its mechanism of transfer, and there was no effective therapy for the disease. There was a large element of hysteria and anxiety in society's reaction to SARS. The initial steps taken to cope with SARS were clear-cut and even dramatic. Decision-making in a time of emergency is associated with a high potential for ethical dilemmas and conflicts. In the course of efforts to cope with a threatening disease, it is important to appraise our activities from an ethical point of view. A retrospective look at this period of time shows that we did not do this. This article examines the ethical aspects of the process undertaken to cope with SARS in our medical centre.
- Emerging pandemics
- Ethical dilemmas