ISSN: 0034-8376
eISSN: 2564-8896






Bioethics in Medical Care Rationing During the Coronavirus Disease-19 Pandemic



Alejandra González-Duarte, Department of Neurology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán (INCMyNSZ), Mexico City, Mexico
Martha Kaufer-Horwitz, Department of Endocrinology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico.
Gerardo Gamba, The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City; Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
Raúl Rivera-Moscoso, Direction of Strategic Planning, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán (INCMyNSZ), Mexico City, Mexico
Carlos A. Aguilar-Salinas, Research Committee, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico.


Background: Coronavirus (CoV) disease (COVID)-19 poses difficult situations in which the ethical course of action is not clear, or choices are made between equally unacceptable responses. Methods: A web search was performed using the terms “bioethics; COVID-19; ethics; severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2; emergent care; pandemic; and public health emergencies.” Results: Protection from COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation of necessary medical interventions, lengthened suffering, and potential non-COVID-19 deaths. Prolonged lockdown reduced well-being, triggering or aggravating mental illnesses and violence, and escalated medical risks. Collateral damage includes restrictions on visitations to hospitals, alienation from the deceased relative, or lack of warm caring of patients. Finally, in a public health crisis, public health interest overrides individual rights if it results in severe harm to the community. Conclusion: Balancing ethical dilemmas are one more challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic.



Keywords: Coronavirus disease-19. Ethics. Medical care. Public health.