• Doug Fraser

    Doug Fraser is a School of Medicine public relations associate; he can be reached at fraserd@bu.edu. Profile

  • Cydney Scott


    cydney scott

    Cydney Scott has been a professional photographer since graduating from the Ohio University VisCom program in 1998. She spent 10 years shooting for newspapers, first in upstate New York, then Palm Beach County, Fla., before moving back to her home city of Boston and joining BU Photography. Profile

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There are 2 comments on Addressing the Ethical Issues at the Heart of the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. I’m surprised that the discussion appears to have avoided the elephant in the room – the trampling of informed consent, free speech, and open scientific discussion by public health authorities who joined the public panic instead of tempering it with scientific evidence and equanimity.

    The COVID pandemic saw the shredding of core medical ethics at
    a level I have not seen in my lifetime … and the public trust will
    not be returned until the medical community comes clean about

  2. At the second annual Alan and Sybil Edelstein Professionalism and Ethics in Medicine Lecture the panel experts were: Ravin Davidoff, Michael Ieong, Jessica Pisegna, David Hamer, and Jacob Bloom. The panel experts discussed ethical issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in rationing hospital supplies, medicines, and equipment due to lack of hospital administration and government response. This resulted in triaging resources to maximize “the most good”. Their response reminds me of distributive justice, which is fair and equitable distribution of healthcare resources. The Boston Medical Center exercised this principle prioritizing vaccine recipients, discharging patients when beds were needed, crowd-sourcing, and bulk-buying medications. Clinicians worked closely with infectious disease specialists to make decisions that balanced the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence. One thing I am curious about is if the response teams considered how increased patients would affect physicians’ workloads and mental health. If so, how were these issues addressed? How were decisions made of who would take longer shifts and when to trade off? I understand the importance of patient well-being, but the pandemic also took a toll on clinicians. Executing a plan to do the greatest good would also mean considering the providers’ abilities and limits. I think the Boston Medical Center did the best they could in the situation, but would like to hear how their ethical decisions balanced the needs of the patients with the abilities of the staff.

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