Open Access

Bioethics of pandemics and disasters within the context of public health ethics and ethics of social consequences


Introduction: Public health ethics addresses moral dilemmas arising from balancing individual healthcare needs with societal interests. Ethical considerations in public health during pandemics and disasters aim to reduce mortality rates and minimize social injustice through fair principles.

Objective: This paper analyzes public health ethics and ethical values in allocating resources during mass casualty incidents. The intersection of public health ethics, applied bioethics, and ethics of social consequences (through non-utilitarian consequentialism) guides addressing serious public health challenges in catastrophic scenarios. The application of the given interaction is significant for professional medical ethics.

Methodology: The paper employs inductive, deductive, and normative methods of bioethics and the methodology of ethics of social consequences.

Conclusion: The paradigmatic disparity between the bioethics of pandemics and disaster bioethics lies in the fluid application of bioethical principles and the accentuation of utilitarian demands depending on the severity and scale of mass casualty incidents. Applied bioethics in crisis situations respects the approaches of public health ethics and attempts to increase positive social outcomes. The application of (scarce) resource allocation criteria and triage of patients is derived from ethical decisions beneficial to public health and lege artis approaches of medical bioethics. The paper presents professional and ethical criteria for medically inappropriate treatment within the framework of patient triage; we approach crisis ethics from the perspective of maximization of benefit. Age is not an exclusion criterion of acute healthcare provision in crisis situations. Ethics of social consequences as a form of non-utilitarian consequentialism allowing for social consequences bridges public health ethics and applied bioethics.