Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Canadians willing to suspend liberties in a pandemic

Canadians are bullish on giving government officials permission to restrict personal freedoms in a flu pandemic, with half of those surveyed agreeing that violation of a quarantine order would be tantamount to manslaughter.As well, 90% of Canadians surveyed for a research report in pandemic ethics believe doctors and nurses have an obligation to report to work during a pandemic, provided safety precautions are in place. Almost half (48%) say that health care workers who do not show up for work without a legitimate excuse should be fired or lose their professional licenses.The survey, conducted by the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, is based on a random sample of 500 Canadians surveyed by phone, and nearly 100 more via a series of town hall meetings. It was taken between August 2008 to February 2009 — just before the H1N1 outbreak began in April — and was designed to inject the public’s voice into debates usually left to the experts, and comes as officials brace for an anticipated second wave of H1N1 flu...

Picture Left:A sign inside St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto warns visitors not to visit family or friends if they have had flu-like symptoms.(Mark Blinch/Reuters)

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