Along with the announcement that his government had approved Sputnik V, the supposed Russian coronavirus vaccine, Vladimir Putin also indulged in a moment of paternal pride: Wanting to confirm his personal confidence in the vaccine, he mentioned that one of his daughters was among the early recipients. This raises a couple of intriguing questions: Which daughter was it? And why does it matter?
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to test and occasionally overwhelm health care institutions. Many practitioners may face the ethically challenging scenario of having to ration ventilators while triaging patients in “crisis care.” Ventilator shortages have led to innovative ventilator design “hacks.” Are these improvised ventilators ethical?
The global crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic and the rush to create and distribute a vaccine widely hoped to be a “silver bullet” that can facilitate a return to “normalcy” threatens to upend seven decades of assumptions about bioethical norms.
In many ways, black bioethics can be explained very simply as the exploration and interrogation of any event, ideal, technological advancement, person, or institution that directly or indirectly affects the health or well-being of black (loosely defined) individuals or the black population. Black bioethics is taking what we do in bioethics and specifically applying it to black people. But in other ways black bioethics is more than this; it is a rebellion against bioethics.
Police consider tear gas, stun guns, and other “less-lethal” weapons essential to public safety. But, too often, it’s their use that threatens safety. It’s time to explore medicine’s complicity in perpetuating brutality that disproportionately impacts nonwhite communities, especially Black Americans.
Personal ventilators used by people with disabilities should not reallocated to people with Covid-19. Triage protocols should be immediately clarified and explicitly state that personal ventilators will be protected in all cases.
As more workplaces open up, a seldom-used legal action is being taken against employers charged with inadequately protecting employees from the coronavirus: public nuisance lawsuits.
A central mandate of the ADA is to make the goods of society accessible to people with disabilities and overcome their segregation in civil society through reasonable accommodation that allows them to go to work, live with their neighbors, and avoid institutionalization. But let’s not delude ourselves with historic sentimentality as disability law is placed under tremendous stress by the pandemic.
I knew that being a foster parent would be demanding, but I was unprepared for the extent of the challenges, which were exacerbated by the pandemic.
Language used to describe the response to the pandemic can illuminate, and it can distort. Here I focus on language that obfuscates thinking about the pandemic. As the death toll mounted in New York City in April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was reported to have declared, “Ventilators are to this war what bombs were… Read more
Is it unrealistic to believe that phone apps for digital Covid contact tracing can be designed and regulated in ways that prevent the information they collect from being misused? It’s worth remembering surveillance of Vietnam War protesters and Martin Luther King Jr.
With some reluctance, I’ve come to the sad realization the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stress test for bioethics, a field of study that intersects medicine, law, the humanities and the social sciences. As both a physician and medical ethicist, I arrived at this conclusion after spending months at what was once the epicenter of the pandemic: New York City. I was overseeing a 24/7 bioethics consultation service.