What ethical dilemmas has the coronavirus placed on our healthcare providers/system?

There are many ethical questions which the coronavirus placed on our healthcare system/providers. Some issues include the different quality of healthcare available to people with varying degrees of medical insurance, the neglect of treating other illnesses because of COVID-19, and the fact that doctors can refuse to see patients if they display COVID-19 symptoms, even if these symptoms could be stemming from a different disease.

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COVID-19 has created a lot of problems in many different areas of our life. When looking at the ethical dilemmas with regard to the healthcare system, you might want to point out first of all that not all people are able to access the same quality of healthcare. People who can afford better healthcare plans have access to much better doctors and care than people on very low or no income. This means that doctors are not able to help all people who are infected with COVID-19 equally. This obviously poses an ethical dilemma.

Another ethical question you might want to raise is the fact that the focus on COVID-19 often means that doctors and hospitals are so busy dealing with this pandemic that they are often unable to help people who suffer from other health issues. The COVID-19 outbreak has put significant strains on healthcare providers, as they are struggling to cope with the extra demand this brings in some areas. Should COVID-19 really take priority over the fight against other illnesses, such as cancer?

Many doctors and hospitals have told patients not to come in if they display COVID-19 symptoms. However, this also brings an ethical dilemma: some COVID-19 symptoms could also be symptoms of a different disease, which means potential different illnesses could go undetected. Take the dry cough, a very prominent COVID-19 symptom: if a patient rings up their doctor, complaining about a cough, the doctor will probably tell the patient to stay at home and to get tested for COVID-19. However, this dry cough could also be a sign of lung cancer, for example, in which case a quick diagnosis would be absolutely vital for the patient's chance to recover. Any delay caused by the similarity of symptoms to COVID-19 symptoms could therefore be detrimental to the patient's health. Choosing whether to defer seeing a patient or whether to see them immediately is therefore another ethical dilemma for our health care providers.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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