Legal Foundations of Health Care


Ethical Dilemmas Raised by COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 created havoc on our society. With millions of people infected, surges of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, shortages of supplies, rationing of testing, and competing obligations of health care workers who are concerned about their own lives and the lives of their family, many ethical questions were created by this crisis. Ethical issues even arose at the highest levels of government, as federal agencies scrambled to manage the pandemic and its effects.

As you will recall from the Unit I, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for national health and human services policy objectives. Three departments within the HHS are Medicare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all of which were integral players in managing the pandemic.

This assignment has three parts. First, briefly summarize how each of the three HHS departments impacted the welfare of the American people during the pandemic and identify at least one ethical issue that involved one of the departments.

Next, in part two, you will identify a non-governmental ethical dilemma associated with COVID-19. This may be a dilemma faced by health care workers, communities, businesses or organizations, or even personal dilemmas. For each of the two dilemmas you identify, address each of the following: 

  • What is the ethical dilemma? 
  • Briefly describe the issues surrounding the dilemma.
  • What are your recommendations to resolve each dilemma and prevent it from occurring in the future?
  • What changes in health care do you think will or should occur in the future as a result of each dilemma? 

Finally, in part three, review and respond to the following scenario:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a national shortage of ventilators and saw how health care providers had to ration limited supplies. Many hospitals had a limited number of ventilators compared to the number of COVID-19 patients who needed them. If you were a health care professional in a hospital setting, and the three patients listed below arrived on your shift, which one would you choose to give the one ventilator that is left in your facility? Explain your reasoning. Note: They are all struggling to breathe and have been brought to a triage tent at the same time. There are no other medical facilities in the area with ventilators.

  • a 16-year-old boy with diabetes 
  • a 25-year-old mother
  • a 75-year-old who is an immediate member of your own family

Each of the three parts of this assignment must be a minimum of one page, for a total of at least three pages. The title and references pages do not count toward this requirement. 

You must use at least three peer-reviewed or academic sources to support your responses, one of which must be from the CSU Online Library. Adhere to APA Style when constructing this assignment, including in-text citations and references for all sources that are used. Please note that no abstract is needed.