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The Politics of FearMédecins sans Frontières and the West African Ebola Epidemic$
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Michiel Hofman and Sokhieng Au

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624477.001.0001

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Failing Dr. Khan

Failing Dr. Khan

Chapter:
(p.175) 7 Failing Dr. Khan
Source:
The Politics of Fear
Author(s):

Tim O’Dempsey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624477.003.0009

On July 29, 2014, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, Sierra Leone’s leading expert on viral hemorrhagic fevers, died of Ebola virus disease in the Ebola treatment center in Kailahun run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). From the day he learned he had tested positive for Ebola until the day he died, Dr. Khan became the focal point of urgent discussion and debate on medical ethics. These discussions included the proper use of experimental therapeutic agents during an unprecedented epidemic and policies and preparedness for international medical evacuation. Healthcare workers debated ethical points such as whether they should prioritize the greater common good over the interests of an individual. They agonized over whether they could justify placing the value of the life of one person above that of another.

Keywords:   Ebola, Sierra Leone, Sheik Humarr Khan, experimental treatments, healthcare workers, medical evacuation, medical ethics, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)

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