Moral Crisis for COVID-19 Health Workers
In this pandemic, ethics need to be considered in every aspect of crisis management, at every stage- immediate steps to contain and prevent, medium term strategies of care and compensation, and long term plans for well being and rehabilitation.Moral crisis for COVID-19 health workers is also as big challenge as of patient care.
The devastating pandemic that has stricken the worldwide population induced an unprecedented influx of patients in ICUs, raising ethical concerns not only surrounding triage and withdrawl of life support decisions, but also regarding family visits and quality of end- of-life support.These ingredients are liable to shake up our ethical principles, sharpen our ethical dilemmas and leads to situations of major Caregiver sufferings. Whatever the angle of approach, imbalance between utilitarian and individual ethics leads to unsolvable discomforts that caregivers will need to overcome.
In their daily practice, intensivists are used to facing to ethical concerns related to admission or non-admission to ICU, to withholding or withdrawing life support and to communication with families. Faced with a massive influx of patients and extreme scarcity of ICU beds, the theoretical risk of “sacrificing the most vulnerable patients” shakes the caregivers ethical convictions.
Many health care workers experienced stigma as they were avoided or treated differently because of their high exposure to COVID-19 patients.They were perceived as dangerous in their private environment,whilst at the same time being treated as heroes in their professional environment and in the public opinion.
Many workers were worried of infecting relatives they considered as vulnerable such as children and oIder relatives living with them at home.As a reaction, many health care workers did notgo home to sleep and avoided their families.
The current pandemic poses basic questions about what it means to be human and live a flourishing life. It puts our institutions and settled ways of doing things in crisis, provoking the need to reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing it. Crisis force us to ask whether what we take to be moral is really good or true. At the point of crisis our assumed ways of doing things no longer fit the world we live in. At a point of crisis, we must try to discern and discover whether what we take to be moral can help us respond to this new situation or does it need re-calibrating or even rejecting.
As a famous writer highlighted, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world a new. This one (COVID-19) is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice … and dead ideas… Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world and ready to fight for it.”
Psychosocial services among health care workers provided either by peers or by well known and trusted mental health professionals – such as psychologists, psychiatrists – have been shown to be especially helpful. Signalling in group messages that all staff are in this together and nobody has to carry decisions alone are considered as very stress relieving. In many cases, anonymous helplines and counselling have been established in order to reach highly affected staff in hospitals. However, considering the access to psychlogical services, it should be taken into account, that staff with subthreshhold and mild levels of mental health disturbances might actually be more likely to take action and be motivated to acquire skills to help others, than those with more severe disturbances who have more motivation to learn self-help techniques.
From all this,we can conclude that many of the health care workers have shown an extraordinary resistanceThey have been able to work together and function well as teams in very challenging circumstances. They have often over worked themselves until they were completely exhausted.Many of them took damage to their health or lost their lives due to the pandemic. Faced with extremely distressing ethical dilemmas, they have been able to take decisions based upon rational models and guidelines While at the same time providing the best care possible for their patients in these difficult times.
I hope the article moral crisis for COVID-19 healthworkers gives more understanding of health workers dilemma.
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