Review: Ethics in the time of coronavirus: Recommendations in the COVID-19 pandemic

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Review: Ethics in the time of coronavirus: Recommendations in the COVID-19 pandemic

Review: Ethics in the time of coronavirus: Recommendations in the COVID-19 pandemic

This pre-print of a forthcoming article provides recommendations for several pressing ethical challenges based on existing frameworks from the Hastings Center and the American College of Surgeons.

The article notes that the ethical issues raised by an infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19 combine the challenges of contagious disease and those of scarce resource allocation. Reference points for the analysis therefore include well-established ethical reasoning from both the HIV/AIDS pandemic and organ transplant allocation.

Specific ethical dilemmas addressed include:

  • Professional responsibilities of health care workers and duty to provide care;
  • Patient confidentiality and duty to report positive cases to public agencies;
  • Screening and testing for patients and health care providers;
  • Allocation of scarce resources such as ICU beds, ventilators, and certain medications;
  • Relaxation of treatment approval and credentialing guidelines; and
  • End of life issue and goals of care discussions.

The authors offer conclusions and recommendations based on the duties outlined in the Hastings Center’s pandemic response ethical framework (duty to plan, duty to safeguard, and duty to guide) and the American College of Surgeons’ resource allocation ethical framework (transparency, advocacy, and commitment to support all affected directly or indirectly).

|2020-04-14T15:20:05-04:00April 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Ethics in the time of coronavirus: Recommendations in the COVID-19 pandemic

About the Author: Daniel Orenstein

Daniel Orenstein
Daniel G. Orenstein, JD, MPH, is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He teaches in the areas of administrative law, public health law, and health care law and policy. His research focuses on public health law, policy, and ethics, and he was previously Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law Western Region, where much of his work centered on emergency preparedness and response, including resource allocation and government authority during declared emergencies, as well as vaccination policy.

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