Interests Divided: Risks to Disaster Research Subjects vs. Benefits to Future Disaster Victims

  • Evelyne Shuster
Part of the Public Health Ethics Analysis book series (PHES, volume 2)


The increase in number of severe disasters worldwide, together with the professionalization of first responders, rescue teams and humanitarian organisations, has led to the emergence of a new kind of research, ‘disaster research.’ There are presently no research rules or codes of ethics that take into account the status of disaster victims as a vulnerable population, and the need to articulate an ethical justification for conducting disaster research has gathered momentum.

This chapter explores the key ethical requirements for conducting research on victims of disasters (including voluntary informed consent, and a favourable benefit-harm ratio), examines whether these requirements can be realised and are sufficient to justify research in disaster settings, and concludes with recommendations for defining the fundamental ethical duty of all humanitarian responders in the immediate response phase of a disaster.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Disaster Victim Disaster Research Nuremberg Code Disaster Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Veterans Affairs Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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