Clinical Ethics Consultations
during the COVID-19 Pandemic Surge at a New York City Medical Center
Katherine Fischkoff, Gerald Neuberg, Joyeeta Dastidar, Erin P. Williams, Kenneth M. Prager, and Lydia Dugdale
The COVID-19 pandemic swept through New York City swiftly and with devastating effect. The crisis put enormous pressure on all hospital services, including the clinical ethics consultation team. This report describes the recent experience of the ethics consultants and Columbia Irving University Medical Center during the COVID-19 surge and compares the case load and characteristics to the corresponding period in 2019. By reporting this experience, we hope to supplement the growing body of COVID-19 scientific literature and provide details of the human toll the virus took on our hospitals and communities. We also aim to highlight the role of the clinical ethics consultant as well as areas of policy and law that may need to be addressed in order to be better prepared for a future public health crisis.
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