“We have to decide who must die and whom we shall keep alive…” Amid the excruciating ethical decisions our physician colleagues face in the worst-hit #COVID-19 regions, do we not have a duty to our patients to clarify from this NEJM article its misunderstandings?…Yes crises may force us to make extremely difficult decisions rationing healthcare. But it never can be ethical/rational for it to be based on “utilitarianism” (which is not a defensible ethics philosophically or practically, as you can ‘justify’ nearly anything by it while losing sight of the individual). The metaphysically-grounded #Thomistic #personalist #ethics quietly fundamental in the #UN‘s #humanrights-based #socialcontract argues that we must protect the #dignity of each patient as a person. And when a crisis makes us choose i.e. giving a ventilator to one of two patients, we have to chose to save the one who has the best chance of being saved (even if the unintended/undesired consequence is that we lose the other). So we need good ethics and good data in such horrific cases. Our thoughts go out to all the patients and providers we have lost and their families during this global crisis/tragedy.
GSAS Chief Data Scientist (Dominique Monlezun, MD, PhD, PhD, MPH) is AI+MD: our lead voice fighting for patients through ethical and effective AI, from the world’s first doctoral-level dual-trained physician-data scientist and bioethicist.