(by Elena Postigo, Bioethics professor at University Francisco de Vitoria)
The Covid-19 pandemic, popularly known as coronavirus, is causing a great human drama with thousands of dead, infected, entire countries paralyzed and healthcare completely collapsed.
The rapid spread of the virus is causing such a high number of patients that the various health systems are having trouble coping with them. In China it happened, then in Italy and now it is starting to happen in Spain where there are hospitals that do not have the capacity to attend to all patients and in the most serious cases they are being forced to make decisions about who can receive a mechanical ventilator. and who doesn’t.
Thus, the strength of the coronavirus is also causing an ethical dilemma in the face of these more serious cases regarding which people should be cared for before others. To shed light specifically from the bioethical sphere, Professor Elena Postigo has published a simple bioethical manifesto on coronavirus via Twitter.
Postigo is a university professor and director of the Bioethics Institute of the Francisco de Vitoria University. These are the seven points that he has elaborated in this regard:
1- Every person, regardless of their age and condition, deserves to be recognized as a person with dignity and with the inherent human rights.
2- No one should be discriminated against because of their age or illness. They all deserve medical attention and care.
3- Health professionals must safeguard their integrity and health with the necessary material means. It is a duty of the competent authority to guarantee their integrity by providing appropriate clothing for the danger to which they are exposed: mask, PPE, gloves.
4- The State and its rulers have the duty to guarantee the health of citizens, to prevent them from possible harm, to put the means, current and foreseeable future, so that their life, health and especially that of most vulnerable population groups.
5- The whole of society, and the government in particular, has a duty to protect the most vulnerable groups: the elderly, the sick, people with disabilities, children, etc. And to all those who cannot do it by themselves; we must watch over them with special attention.
6- Health professionals have the duty to: attend, heal and care for everyone, regardless of their condition; not violate the principle of non-discrimination recognized by the EC, human rights and the codes of ethics of all health professions.
7- In extreme situations and scarcity of resources that may occur (urgency, war, pandemic, calamity), they should decide which patient accesses the ICU according to prudential criteria, assessing case by case, not only the age but the diagnosis and prognosis of the patient.
And in any case, always putting all the means at their disposal to save you and protect your right to life and health. Without using age as a discriminatory criterion.