COVID-19: Supporting Ethical Care and Responding to Moral Distress in a Public Health Emergency
Guidance, tools, and resources for
Hospital Ethics Committees (HECs)
Clinical Ethics Consultation (CEC)
The Hastings Center, March 24, 2020
This slide deck is designed for use within a health care institution’s COVID-19 preparedness and response activities, supplementing public health, clinical practice, and ethical guidance. It aims to quickly prepare hospital ethics committees (HECs) and clinical ethics consultation (CEC) services to
1) assess and shift their operations to reflect new tasks and work conditions, including resource scarcity, and
2) respond to changing ethical needs and concerns among clinicians caring for patients under contingency levels of care and, potentially, crisis standards of care.
This slide deck is not intended to be, and should not be considered, a substitute for clinical ethics consultation or other medical, legal, or other professional advice on individual cases or for particular institutions. It reflects an evolving public health emergency; references are current as of March 23, 2020.
This resource is designed as a compliment to the Ethical Framework for Health Care Institutions Responding to Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19); Guidelines for Institutional Ethics Services Responding to COVID-19 developed by The Hastings Center. This resource is available at:
Additionally, The Hastings Center has compiled a set of ethics resources for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic: