Protecting the Vulnerable in the Medical Response to COVID-19

In a recent blog post in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Mason Philosophy Professor and IPPP Fellow Dr. Andrew Peterson argues against a proposal to forcibly withdraw ventilators from nursing home patients for reallocation to Covid-19 patients.

Together with his co-authors, Dr. Adrian Owen and Dr. Charles Weijer of Western University, Canada, Peterson tackles the complex ethical issues bound up with scarce resource allocation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their analysis emphasizes the importance of core values such as protecting people with disabilities and those less able to speak for themselves. Neglecting these values, they suggest, can lead to flawed arguments and poor use of the data with serious unethical consequences.

"In the race to save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic," they note, "we must not sacrifice those most vulnerable."