03 Jul 2023
by Dave Archard
The prospect of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 is good news for everyone towards the end of a grim year. Of course, caution is still advisable with as yet no certainty as to how long the vaccine might work or whether there might be adverse side effects for certain groups. There are also a host of ethical issues that need to be addressed.
It’s amazing how much (and how many people) we trust in and how reliant we are on trust. Imagine a world in which you never trusted your doctor to try to do her best for you. In an emergency such as the present one when things are so uncertain trust matters even more. But you cannot just command trust (‘Trust me I am an expert/Minister/whatever’) and when trust has been built up over time it is very easy for it to be destroyed in an instant.
At some point in this terrible pandemic doctors will have to make some unbelievably difficult life and death decisions. It is the point at which the demand for the intensive life saving resources outstrips their supply. At that point doctors will have to decide who receives care and who does not. No one should have to make such decisions, and yet they will have to be made.