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International Journal of Applied Philosophy


published on November 21, 2014

James Stacey Taylor
DOI: 10.5840/ijap2014112029

A Scandal in Geneva
Culpable Negligence and the WHO’s 2013 Report on National Self-Sufficiency in Blood and Blood Products

In 2013 the World Health Organization published a Report in which it was argued that countries should become self-sufficient in safe blood and blood products, and that these should be secured through voluntary non-remunerated donation. These two claims were putatively supported by a wealth of citations to peer-reviewed academic papers, the results of Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries in both Canada and the United Kingdom, and data collected from Non-Government Organizations. Yet not only do many of the sources cited by the authors of this WHO Report fail to support their conclusions, many support conclusions that are the opposite of those that they draw. The aim of this paper is not, however, to argue against the conclusions of this Report. Instead, it is to argue that its authors were culpably negligent in its writing, in that they failed to take reasonable care to ensure that their conclusions were supported by the evidence, and in so doing exposed third parties to risks of harm to which they had not consented.