Review: It is not only coronavirus that risks infecting society – our prejudices do, too

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Review: It is not only coronavirus that risks infecting society – our prejudices do, too

Review: It is not only coronavirus that risks infecting society – our prejudices do, too

This op-ed describes ways that existing guidance for rationing scarce resources in response to COVID-19 case surge may be discriminatory towards persons with disabilities and reflect harmful stereotypes.

The author cites recent resource allocation guidance from the British Medical Association that suggests potential removal of ventilators from some patients in favor of others with better prognosis based on age and health, as well as reports of “do not resuscitate” (DNR) forms being given to patients who receive adult social care. The author also notes a recent change in approach by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that initially indicated patients with learning disabilities and autism should be assessed higher on frailty scores, which would make them lower priority for resource allocation. The author distinguishes between judgements based on treatment efficacy and judgements based on quality of life, arguing that support needs are not equivalent to frailty and that policies for treatment should be based on an individual’s needs and choices, not on generalized assessments of entire groups that facilitate discrimination.

|2020-04-10T16:40:51-04:00April 10th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: It is not only coronavirus that risks infecting society – our prejudices do, too

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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