Healthcare Workers Have Moral Obligation To Care For COVID-19 Patients Assessment Answer
Healthcare workers have a moral obligation to care for COVID19 patients and cannot object to caring for these patients.
Healthcare workers have moral and legal obligations to risk their own lives and to treat the patients with the utmost quality of services during the pandemic situation. For example, within the USA more than 100,000 health care workers have been so far infected and nearly 550 have died (Tsai, 2020). As per the CDC figures, approximately health care workers infected are 11% - 16% during the first wave of the COVID 19 pandemic situation (Tsai, 2020). Healthcare workers have specific training, have skill sets, and hold an in-depth knowledge to provide adequate quality care and services at the time outbreak. . During a pandemic situation, the specific types of medical practitioners are engaged and employed in public hospitals, centers, and other community services to provide quick assistance during changing requirement in pandemic situations. At the same time, the moral obligation of the medical practitioners is also to deny duties to protect their own families, safeguard themselves, or simply for the community in which they serve. These are the conflicting perspectives, during the pandemic situation (Tsai, 2020).
In the period 2002-2004, there was an outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), where 8000 people from the 29 countries have been impacted and number of deaths was 774 people. Hong Kong and China accounted for 80% of the cases, with the rate of deaths was 70.9% and hospital workers getting impacted was 69%, gradually there was a decline of the healthcare staffs by 11% in Hong Kong and 10% in China (Tsai, 2020). Even though in countries like Hong and China, adequate training and medical assistance were given to healthcare workers, but sudden decline and dip in the assistance have caused a burden to the already healthcare system and to treat the public at large (Tahan, 2020). The training of the healthcare workers is provided, on the grounds to serve during the emergency times or at the time of outbreak situation, to handle the situation confidently with a better command. At the time of the COVID 19 crises, the health care workers are equipped, skilled, and trained to deal during such emergencies and the moral obligations of the healthcare workers is not object in providing care during the times of the patient suffering from virus (Ripp, 2019). The GMC (UK) asserts that the physicians hold an obligation to provide swift medical attention during disasters time, even when knowing that the health risk hold higher risks but still they have to provide adequate care and quality of services (Tahan, 2019).
Conscientious Objection within the healthcare opinionates any reasons to reject the actions considering it morally wrong. Within the medical duties, conscientious objection is the right to treat certain people or refuse to treat the others, as there can be refusal on account of the personal grounds (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2018). While treating the patient, the personal beliefs and morality of the medical practitioner should not be a barrier while taking the appropriate medical decision (Rhodes, 2017). The duties and moral obligations can still be ethical but can be morally unacceptable. At the times of the healthcare refusal to provide care in the emergency is justified as if the health or well-being can be endangered due to medical problems like having heart problems, or experiencing some other medical problems, where there is a high likeliness of contracting the virus. Even during the condition, the medical practitioners think that there is a likeliness of the unacceptable hazards such as not providing the medical equipment (PPE, Gloves, etc) or the other safety measures. The medical practitioners also must abide by the ethical principles and the standard duty of care to overcome such risks. The medical practitioners must maintain to abide by the fiduciary relationship and to maintain the duty to care and principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence (Bayham, 2020). The duty of care states that medical practitioners have the right to offer medical advice along with the treatment through adequate skills and knowledge with the purpose. Additionally, the medical practitioners have to abide by the principles of ethical principles which are Autonomy which is to act following morality rather than under the influence of the desires (Brotherton, 2016). As per the Autonomy principle, the medical practitioner should take the best course of decisions for the patient’s interest (Cheung, 2020). As per the principle of beneficence, which states to do more benefits than harms and provide good ethics to all. The principle obligates that the medical practitioners to adhere to his duties at the time of COVID 19 with the best duties. The principle of Nonmaleficence is the principle to not cause harm and provide the best to all. During the times of the COVID 19, by not providing the quality a service to patients is a conflict of medical practitioners' duties. The principle of justice obligates the medical practitioners is to provide the fair and just duties to the patients with the utmost quality and care (de la Garza, et al, 2017).
Conscientious objection has strong grounds to faith, religion along with following the moral principles. At the time of the pandemic situation, the public at large is dependent on the healthcare system and to attain the community services (Dunn, 2017). The principles of the healthcare workers are to provide the best care with the rightful skill set, knowledge and to provide utmost care and not refuse during the emergency type situations. The medical practitioners if obligated during the additional research process or to provide the duties in the other distant places, then the healthcare services should allow doing so and it is the duty of the nurses, medical practitioners, and the other healthcare workers to maintain their duties without breaching the employment positions on the grounds of conscientious objection (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2018).
In the view of the conscientious objection that asserts that the healthcare worker also holds an additional decision to decide what is objectively right or wrong, in the context of treating the patients, deciding the working hours, or even having a fair opinion when treating the patient with the best cause or interest (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2018). As the medical practitioners have the moral duties to not work beyond their capacity (for example 24 hours for 7 days), the physicians also hold the right ways to serve the other patients, seek freedom to exercise their opinions while treating the patients, to limit their working hours or even getting a new allocation of work in other departments, etc. The employer should respect such decision making and it is the conscientious objection that obligates the medical practitioners to take reasonable steps and provide quality services to the preferred person, engaging in the quality of care, providing safety, and during the advance care initiatives are not withhold (Dunn, 2019). The duties of the medical practitioner are also to assist at the times to accept the employment positions as they hold a variance of beliefs, and also the responsibility to disclose their employer. As per the American Medical Association (AMA) which has asserted a standing opinion (8.3) over the treatment at the emergency times which obligates that the physicians’ have the role during the pandemic situation is to “provide urgent medical care and help at the times of emergencies, even if there are high risks to the medical practitioner own health. Opinion 8.3 also further states, if there is a risk of containment while providing the care to the patient is high then the medical practitioners should restrict while treating the patients and while denying such duties, it would also substantiate their duties from the future point of view (Irvine, 2020). During the emergency times, the role of medical practitioners is to focus on providing the close ones, especially the family and loved ones with the best possible care and minimizing personal risks (Patuzzo, 2017). The physicians also have to maintain their duties of care with the rightful medical assistance to be provided with the willingness to take additional risks. As per the public health ethics, the medical practitioners since obligated with the rightful training and skills (getting additional grants, compensation, and aids) to provide effective care at times of crises (Ozgonul, 2019). As per the deontological perspective provided by Kant, that makes the medical practitioner abide by the care and duties which can be provided with the best act of care without conflicting one own duty.
To conclude, health care workers have the right to hold influence to withhold their moral obligation to take care of the patient or simply refuse it. Healthcare workers are trained to provide community services and also assist during community crises or suffering from health issues During the treatment of the patients, the healthcare worker specialized do not hold a moral autonomy to treat Covid-19 patients, while the others types of doctors like ophthalmology, or the dermatology can even deny their duties with the moral obligation to serve their duties with some capacity in the hospital, but at the same time taking risks while treating Covid-19 patients.. Physicians along with the other health care professionals should balance their obligations such as having the family commitments or simply risk at the time of the pandemic situation, which can otherwise also risk their family members.