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The Ethics Of Care During A Pandemic

Teams work on responding to COVID-19 at the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management in Ballwin on March 13, 2020.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Teams work on responding to COVID-19 at the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management in Ballwin on March 13, 2020.

Medical ethicists are trained to confront ethical questions in medicine, and the novel coronavirus raises quite a few.

Dr. Kimbell Kornu works on the ethics committee at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital.
St. Louis University

For instance, in China and Italy, there have been reports of hospitals being forced to ration care for COVID-19 patients. This form of rationing care and prioritizing treatment is determined by a hospital’s crisis standards of care guidelines.

According to Dr. Kimbell Kornu, an assistant professor of health care ethics and palliative medicine at St. Louis University, hospital administrators and clinical ethicists around the country are preparing their guidelines now, looking back to protocols from the SARS outbreak of 2003 and care in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske spoke with Kornu about these and other ethical considerations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to their conversation:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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