PPE in the hospital: ethical decision-making that balances health professional wellbeing and duty to care

By Rosalind McDougall, Lynn Gillam, Danielle Ko, Isabella Holmes, Clare Delany Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians in well-resourced healthcare systems usually had the information and resources they needed to appropriately protect themselves while still providing optimal care for patients.  However, achieving both staff protection and high quality patient care has now become difficult in […]

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Mechanical ventilators: the evidence of effectiveness

By Jonathan J. Darrow and Jing Luo As government leaders move to relax physical distancing requirements related to severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a central assumption is that mechanical ventilators will form part of the safety net needed to sustain life in those afflicted with the disease it causes, Covid-19. Ventilators have been described as […]

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Patents, private governance and access to vaccines and treatments for Covid-19

By Aisling McMahon Recent moves such as by the United States and United Kingdom to negotiate deals to access large quantities of vaccines/medicines for Covid-19 within their territories raise serious questions around access to healthcare and global equitable distribution. Such attempts to secure preferential access, although understandable within the national context, can jeopardise supplies of […]

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Government-Sanctioned Health Care Discrimination During a Pandemic: Legally Nonsensical and Morally Bereft

By Charles Binkley and David S. Kemp The Trump administration recently announced a rule change that would effectively remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in health care and health insurance. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination in the provision of health care on the basis of “race, color, national origin, sex, […]

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It’s not catastrophizing if it’s a catastrophe: lessons from the pandemic for psychotherapy.

By Sahanika Ratnayake The pandemic seems to have shaken the orthodox understanding of mental health. Instead of seeing mental illnesses —  such as depression and anxiety — or psychological distress as being based primarily in the individual and their various patterns of thoughts, behaviours and emotions (the approach favoured by the DSM), the pandemic exposed […]

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Why “human challenge” vaccine trials for COVID-19 are morally permissible, but only if we lock down, test, and contact-trace properly

By Ben Bramble We urgently need a vaccine for COVID-19, in order to fully end our lockdowns. The trouble is such vaccines usually take years to develop and test for efficacy and safety. Recently, a number of bioethicists have proposed “human challenge” vaccine trials to speed up the testing process. These involve volunteers receiving a […]

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Finding a vaccine against the novel coronavirus: why challenge trials can be ethical even when a lot remains unknown

By Robert Steel, Lara Buchak, Nir Eyal Multiple authors believe that the development of coronavirus vaccines could be substantially accelerated through the use of challenge trials, in which participants are deliberately exposed to the virus. The tremendous loss of life and health and significant social and economic upheaval from ongoing worldwide pandemic make acceleration of […]

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Utilizing parents to hand-bag ventilate when resources are scarce: Is it ethical?

By Emily E. Barsky and Sadath Sayeed Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations are coping with what resource limited settings are all too familiar with—ventilator scarcity.  In low-income countries, people— and particularly children— frequently die of reversible, acute respiratory failure due to across-the-board resource scarcity.  Some such settings have responded to this by allowing parents […]

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