Justice in Medicine and Public Health

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In the wake of a national terrorist attack such as the ones that occurred on September 11, 2001, the nation was lost. While attempted terrorist attacks had been carried out in the past, many of them had been foiled and the successful ones weren’t nearly of this magnitude. While most victims of September 11th were killed, the survivors and first responders suffered many health complications. Health professionals across the nation were called upon for their expertise in dealing with the aftermath of such a disaster. It was important for people to know how the attack had harmed the environment and how their lives would be impacted as a result. While still in the early stages of cleaning up from 9/11, offices across the country began receiving anthrax and biological terrorism became a major concern as well. Public policy for dealing with terrorism of any kind has been a hot topic ever since. Preventative measures have been put into place to prevent a future attacks and protocols for what to do should we ever face an attack again have been drafted.

There has, however, been large debate about strategy. Topics of debate include: whether or not to have universal vaccines against harmful infectious diseases, how resources should be devoted to research, and which victims to benefit in the wake of an attack. The implicit premises in the effort to make these changes are that all American understand the guiding principles of justice and those principles are widely endorsed by the American population. These premises form the basis of the arguments made in the article. The author argues that there is no single principle that supports all of the relevant policies that have been enacted as a result of September 11th. And since there is no principle supporting the resulting health endorsements, the endorsements that have risen out of September 11th challenge an authoritative conception of justice.

Utilitarianism is argued to be the dominant view of justice in medical and...
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