What Jurisdiction? Whose Justice? A Response to Eckenwiler

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 14 (3):316-321 (2005)
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In “Ethics and the Underpinnings of Policy in Biodefense and Emergency Preparedness,” Lisa Eckenwiler advances discussion about emergency preparedness by exploring ethical commitments that shape healthcare and defense policy in an age of terrorism. Eckenwiler rightly discerns that policymakers' assumptions about controlling and containing hostile malefactors and the need for public consent regarding security measures are part of an epistemic framework that orders the current response to terrorism. Again rightly, she suggests that citizens ought to have a say in shaping and interpreting such fundamental assumptions, a reductive medical model that focuses on mitigation and the management of casualties is insufficient for understanding and responding to the complex social, political, and economic factors that precipitate terrorist attacks, and there is in emergency preparedness an ethically problematic disproportion between the demands society places on public health/medical professionals and the resources society provides for them to meet these demands. She is also probably correct in claiming that, properly understood, the ethical underpinnings of public health policy are teleological in nature



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