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Ethical Issues to Consider During COVID-19 Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of issues in 2020. It has caused job loss, business closures, education issues and, of course, deaths. But what not many people are talking about are the ethical issues involved.

Medical ethics focuses on four key components: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. Autonomy refers to the patient’s right to choose or even refuse their treatment. Beneficence means that a nurse, doctor or other medical provider should always act in the patient’s best interests. Non-maleficence means to not cause harm, so the benefits of medical treatment should always outweigh the risks. Justice refers to how scarce health resources are distributed and who gets what treatment.

However, these ethics are not always being upheld during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses and doctors are working 12+ hour days to help COVID patients. They are being exposed to COVID on a daily basis. Many are getting sick with the virus and even dying.

Nurses are putting up with these risks and inconveniences because they love their job. However, many are violating ethics policies and they may not even know it. Throughout this pandemic, ethical violations in the medical field have caused neglect, suffering and death to patients.

How? First of all, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) recommends that those infected with COVID-19 call their doctor for testing and treatment options. However, millions of people in the United States don’t even have a primary care doctor, so what are they supposed to do? Minorities, those with no insurance and those who are poor are less likely to see a doctor.  This violates the beneficence principle, since this recommendation is not in the best interest of many Americans.

Also, in regards to beneficence and non-maleficence, are patients getting the right treatment? How many hours are COVID-19 patients waiting in the ER waiting rooms before they are even seen? With hospitals crowded and nurses stressed out and overworked, it would be surprising that patients are getting treated quickly and efficiently, since many hospitals appear to lack ventilators, medication and other forms of treatment.

Plus, there are issues with autonomy. People should be able to decide what type of treatment they want, but there will likely be a coronavirus vaccine mandate in the near future. People may not be able to travel, attend theaters and sports venues and even go inside a mall without proof that they have been vaccinated against the virus. This can be a frustrating situation when a community does not have adequate access to vaccines.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Nursing License Lawyer

While nurses across the country are being asked to work long hours and deal with very sick patients, they also need to remember to keep ethics in mind. They could end up facing ethics issues that could cause them to lose their licenses.

Keep your nursing license with help from Tampa nursing license lawyer David P. Rankin. He can assist you in resolving any disciplinary matters. Fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633 to schedule a consultation.