Ethical dilemmas in the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected life around the world and raises many ethical dilemmas regarding limited resources, mental health, social distancing and economic impact.

An article published in Acta Paediatrica points out that the affordability of healthcare services may push people to cross the poverty line, especially in countries without universal healthcare systems.

Healthcare providers may have to make difficult decisions regarding who gets intensive care and who doesn’t. The authors stress that no one should receive differing health care due to their social status. Decision-making tools like the Clinical Frailty Scale and ethics committees may facilitate decisions, they said.

Mass confinement and limited resources generate emotional distress that needs to be addressed in both the general public and healthcare providers.

The necessary measures to fight COVID-19 (lockdown, quarantines, school and work closures) also cause emotional distress. As a consequence, domestic violence against women and children and alcohol abuse has increased. Healthcare providers and the general public should be vigilant to facilitate support and protection, the say. In the hospital setting, end-of-life care should incorporate video conferencing with family members and spiritual support, they advise.

There is a looming global economic crisis that could have dire health consequences for people suffering from economic hardship.