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Different approach to medical decision-making in difficult circumstances: Kittay’s Ethics of Care
  1. Liam Butchart1,
  2. Kristin Krumenacker2,
  3. Aymen Baig2
  1. 1Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics, Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  2. 2Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Liam Butchart, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics, Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA; liam.butchart{at}stonybrookmedicine.edu

Abstract

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated advances in bioethical approaches to medical decision-making. This paper develops an alternative method for rationing care during periods of resource scarcity. Typical approaches to triaging rely on utilitarian calculations; however, this approach introduces a problematic antihumanist sentiment, inviting the proposition of alternative schemata. As such, we suggest a feminist approach to medical decision-making, founded in and expanding upon the framework of Eva Kittay’s Ethics of Care. We suggest that this new structure addresses the issue of medical decision-making during times of resource scarcity just as well as pure utilitarian approaches while better attending to their significant theoretical concerns, forming a coherent alternative to the current bioethical consensus.

  • COVID-19
  • autonomy
  • clinical ethics

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Footnotes

  • Contributors LB completed the initial draft and was responsible for final edits and formatting and submitting the paper. KK significantly assisted in revision of content, edited the document and developed the figures for the paper. AB significantly edited the paper and focused on synthesis of research.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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