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The Ethics of Coercion in Mass Casualty Medicine

'The Ethics of Coercion in Mass Casualty Medicine' cover image

The Ethics of Coercion in Mass Casualty Medicine

Disasters, both natural and manufactured, provide ample opportunities for official coercion. Authorities may enact quarantines, force evacuations, and commandeer people and supplies—all in the name of the public's health. When might such extreme actions be justified, and how does a democratic society ensure that public officials exercise care and forethought to avoid running roughshod over human rights?

In The Ethics of Coercion in Mass Casualty Medicine, Griffin Trotter explores these fundamental questions with skepticism, debunking myths in pursuit of an elusive ethical balance between individual liberties and public security. Through real-life and hypothetical case studies, Trotter discusses when forced compliance is justified and when it is not, how legitimate force should be exercised and implemented, and what societies can do to protect themselves against excessive coercion. The guidelines that emerge are both practical and practicable.

Drawing on core concepts from bioethics, political philosophy, public health, sociology, and medicine, this timely book lays the groundwork for a new vision of official disaster response based on preventing and minimizing the need for coercive action.