Medical ethics in a pandemic

Listen 49:14
Preparing for COVID-19 intensive care patients (Photo by: Britta Pedersen/AP Images)

Preparing for COVID-19 intensive care patients (Photo by: Britta Pedersen/AP Images)

Guests: Meghan Lane-Fall, Arthur Caplan

The coronavirus pandemic is presenting a number of ethical challenges for doctors and caretakers around the globe. In Italy, doctors have had to make tough decisions about who among their patients is more deserving of a ventilator due to shortages of these life-saving devices, and similar quandaries have been reported in New York in recent days. This leaves medical professionals and hospitals with the unfathomable choice of which patients get to live, and who might die. Today on the show, we’re going to talk about the ethical questions that are arising for health systems and health providers on the frontlines of the pandemic. First, we’ll speak to Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Penn Medicine Dr. MEGHAN LANE-FALL, who is director of a new ICU unit that is being constructed in response to the coronavirus. Then, professor of bioethics at New York University ARTHUR CAPLAN joins us to talk about rationing care and the difficult choices facing doctors and nurses.

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