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To comfort always: Are we ignoring this duty in Covid protocols?

MR Rajagopal

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.071


Abstract

COVID-19 is an amplifier of serious physical suffering and emotional trauma, which together could be all-consuming. It is important for health systems to go beyond methods of prevention and treatment, and focus on the palliation of suffering, and to systematically integrate palliative care into Covid-19 management.

Further, in cases where the triage process indicates poor chances of survival, it is particularly important to respect autonomy by honest and sensitive disclosure of prognosis, and to jointly arrive at goals of care. Hooking every dying person to a ventilator would violate the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence. It is also important to ensure at least electronic communication between the patient and family members.

Keywords: Covid-19, palliative care, end of life care, isolation, quarantine, intensive care, ethics of intubation, consent

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