Blog #59: Not your average Grey’s Anatomy episode

–Read¬†pages 205-212 in Wolff

Blog 59–Pick three things from the Ethical Dimensions of Medicine section of chapter 5 and apply them to the covid-19 situation.¬†

The reading talks about how people in poverty often place themselves in danger in order to save their families. The rich are privileged and able to care of themselves just fine.

This relates to Covid-19 because impoverished people are disproportionately affected by the disease. For example, wealthier families are able to stay home and live off their savings. They are able to order groceries on Amazon and work from home. They are able to drive to test centers and afford the test kits. People living in poverty are endangering themselves by taking jobs at grocery stores in need of workers or continuing to go to work in public places in order to keep their families afloat. Lots of people have lost their jobs. They can’t afford medicine or fresh produce. They don’t have hefty savings to live off of. They have no place to put their children who were supposed to be at school eating reduced-price lunches so they could remain healthy. They’re unable to get their groceries using their food stamps because everyone has selfishly taken everything off the shelves.

The reading discusses the idea that doctors need to inform their patients of what is going on, even if it’s bad news

Many hospitals in Italy and other places unable to handle the influx of patients with Covid-19 are forced to tell their patients they will not receive treatment because their likelihood of survival is low. The elderly with pre-existing conditions are at the highest risk of dying from the disease and are often being told they can’t receive treatment such as ventilators because there aren’t enough available for everyone who needs one. As difficult as it is for doctors to tell their patients they’ll die and that there’s nothing to be done about it, doctors are committed to honesty and efficiency so that they can treat as many promising people as possible.

The book also discusses how medical ethics is very situational

Things are being dealt with on a very situational basis. Doctors are having to split ventilators between two patients even though the effects of doing so have not been studied. They are sending sick people home and asking them not to come in because they can’t fit anyone else into their hospitals or into their schedules. They are delivering care without proper protective gear because if they don’t act immediately more people will die. These decisions are made quickly and go against traditional approaches. However, in a crisis like this, people need to act and make decisions situationally.

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