Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 3–11 | Cite as

Towards an ethical theory in disaster situations

  • Pierre MalliaEmail author
Scientific Contribution


Health Care professionals working in disaster situations have to face urgent choices which diverge from their normal deontological ethos and are more utilitarian. Such is the triage system used to choose whom to treat. Instead of entering a crisis these professionals should be thought that ethics is not harmonizable to all situations and that there are situations in which saving as many lives as possible mean sacrificing others. This calls for defining a perimeter zone in which such choices occur, and a time frame (a space–time niche) in which it ought to be considered ethical and legitimate to use such value laden choices.


Disaster situations Utilitarian Deontological Public health (P/H) Health of public (HoP) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioethics Research Programme, Medical School, Mater Dei HospitalUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

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