A pandemic image. Allure.com photo.
By Casey Bukro
Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists
Look what happened to ethics in this time of a global viral pandemic.
It became important, a matter of life and death.
This became clear when the national demand for life-saving ventilators was greater than the supply, forcing doctors and medical technicians to decide which patients struggling to breathe gets them.
Until now, this is not how most people imagine ethics works. Mention ethics and they think it’s something for ivory tower scholars to ponder, but nothing that touches them personally, more a matter for study and debate. A sleepy sort of science, they thought. By definition, ethics is a system of moral principles or values, of right or good conduct.
Americans tend to have a me-first attitude. If they need something, they want it now. The coronavirus humbled those attitudes as medical ethicists step in to decide who gets scarce medical resources. They must wait their turn, if at all.