University of Wisconsin–Madison

Alta Charo discusses the ethics of Ebola treatment and prevention

Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at UW-Madison, was featured in the video, "Ebola: UW-Madison Responds."

Charo also continues to speak with national news agencies about the ethical considerations surrounding Ebola treatment and prevention. Excerpts from several articles follow: 

  • “For these hospitals to make decisions because they’re scared, that’s a problem,” said Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “But if it’s because [the patient's prognosis] is futile, that’s understandable.” "Hospitals Wrestle with Extent of Ebola Treatment," Wall Street Journal, Oct. 31, 2014.
  • “The challenge with vaccine trials is that you’re trying to measure whether people who might otherwise get sick, don’t,” she said. “So you have to start with a high-risk group. And you need large numbers, and density. So now, the trial will have to be done in West Africa where the incidence is high.” "The Ethics of Treating Ebola," Discovery News, Oct. 23, 2014.
  • "The real challenge right now, says Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is stopping the current outbreak using available methods. That means providing gloves and protective suits for health care workers in West Africa, increasing the number of health care workers, isolating the sick, educating affected communities, supplying antibiotics, and promoting alternatives to dangerous cultural practices like close handling of the newly dead."
    "Successful Marburg Virus Treatment Offers Hope for Ebola Patients," National Geographic, August 20, 2014.

  • "Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at both the University of Wisconsin's law and medical schools, says WHO's plan 'makes sense, if [those treated] know they are taking a gamble. There is always a risk-benefit balance, especially in an impoverished area.'"
    "Who Gets Ebola Drugs? AIDS, Dialysis and Cancer 'Cures' Point the Way" NBC News, August 19, 2014.

  • “Here's some of the considerations … First of all, who's got the most urgent need, who's the closest to dying without some attempt to treatment? Who has the best chance of recovery? That might not be the person closest to dying, it might be the person who's the least sick. Where are you physically, logistically, capable of delivering it in an organized fashion where you know who needs it, how many doses they got, how many doses they need and where you can monitor what's going on in the hope of learning a little bit. So that when you use it again next week or next month you use it better. Where can it actually be delivered effectively? There are parts of some of these countries that are far from the cities, where simple things like lack of refrigeration can get in the way of being able to provide drugs in an effective way.”
    "Use of Experimental Ebola Serum Raises Ethical Questions," NPR News, August 11, 2014.


Submitted by Law School News on October 26, 2016

This article appears in the categories: In the Media

Related employee profiles: R. Alta Charo

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