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1.
Ann Neurol ; 91(6): 740-755, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729093

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to estimate the time to recovery of command-following and associations between hypoxemia with time to recovery of command-following. METHODS: In this multicenter, retrospective, cohort study during the initial surge of the United States' pandemic (March-July 2020) we estimate the time from intubation to recovery of command-following, using Kaplan Meier cumulative-incidence curves and Cox proportional hazard models. Patients were included if they were admitted to 1 of 3 hospitals because of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), required endotracheal intubation for at least 7 days, and experienced impairment of consciousness (Glasgow Coma Scale motor score <6). RESULTS: Five hundred seventy-one patients of the 795 patients recovered command-following. The median time to recovery of command-following was 30 days (95% confidence interval [CI] = 27-32 days). Median time to recovery of command-following increased by 16 days for patients with at least one episode of an arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2 ) value ≤55 mmHg (p < 0.001), and 25% recovered ≥10 days after cessation of mechanical ventilation. The time to recovery of command-following  was associated with hypoxemia (PaO2 ≤55 mmHg hazard ratio [HR] = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.46-0.68; PaO2 ≤70 HR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.85-0.91), and each additional day of hypoxemia decreased the likelihood of recovery, accounting for confounders including sedation. These findings were confirmed among patients without any imagining evidence of structural brain injury (n = 199), and in a non-overlapping second surge cohort (N = 427, October 2020 to April 2021). INTERPRETATION: Survivors of severe COVID-19 commonly recover consciousness weeks after cessation of mechanical ventilation. Long recovery periods are associated with more severe hypoxemia. This relationship is not explained by sedation or brain injury identified on clinical imaging and should inform decisions about life-sustaining therapies. ANN NEUROL 2022;91:740-755.


Subject(s)
Brain Injuries , COVID-19 , Brain Injuries/complications , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , Humans , Hypoxia , Retrospective Studies , Unconsciousness/complications
3.
Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology ; : No Pagination Specified, 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1412348

ABSTRACT

In 1985, Governor Mario Cuomo established the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law to provide guidance on issues at the interface of medicine, ethics and the law. During its tenure, the Task Force has been the leading state-based commission in this space producing landmark reports on end-of-life care, physician-assisted suicide, genetic testing, newborn care, brain death, surrogate decision making, assisted reproduction, and ventilator allocation in pandemic flu. These documents have informed state policy, both regulatory and statutory, and had an outsized influence on policy deliberation nationwide. Despite this notable provenance, the Task Force was missing in action during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although individual members were sought for consultation, the Task Force as a whole did not meet during the entirety of the pandemic. This article will explore the consequences of this omission and argue that as a deliberative body, the Task Force should have been an essential component of statewide debate on questions of crisis standards of care, health equity, and vaccine allocation. The COVID-19 experience exposed weaknesses in New York's process of deliberative democracy in response to the pandemic. A state with a distinguished history in this interdisciplinary space was left behind with the views of important constituencies left unheard and communities unserved. Better apprehending how this abdication of responsibility occurred. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Impact Statement This has public policy significiance as it can help prevent its recurrence in the future and lead to more trustworthy, inclusive and effective public health and health law governance. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

4.
Brain ; 144(11): 3291-3310, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341106

ABSTRACT

Neuroethical questions raised by recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of consciousness are rapidly expanding, increasingly relevant and yet underexplored. The aim of this thematic review is to provide a clinically applicable framework for understanding the current taxonomy of disorders of consciousness and to propose an approach to identifying and critically evaluating actionable neuroethical issues that are frequently encountered in research and clinical care for this vulnerable population. Increased awareness of these issues and clarity about opportunities for optimizing ethically responsible care in this domain are especially timely given recent surges in critically ill patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness associated with coronavirus disease 2019 around the world. We begin with an overview of the field of neuroethics: what it is, its history and evolution in the context of biomedical ethics at large. We then explore nomenclature used in disorders of consciousness, covering categories proposed by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, including definitions of terms such as coma, the vegetative state, unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, minimally conscious state, covert consciousness and the confusional state. We discuss why these definitions matter, and why there has been such evolution in this nosology over the years, from Jennett and Plum in 1972 to the Multi-Society Task Force in 1994, the Aspen Working Group in 2002 and the 2018 American and 2020 European Disorders of Consciousness guidelines. We then move to a discussion of clinical aspects of disorders of consciousness, the natural history of recovery and ethical issues that arise within the context of caring for people with disorders of consciousness. We conclude with a discussion of key challenges associated with assessing residual consciousness in disorders of consciousness, potential solutions and future directions, including integration of crucial disability rights perspectives.


Subject(s)
Bioethical Issues , Consciousness Disorders/classification , Neurology/ethics , COVID-19 , Consciousness Disorders/diagnosis , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Med Ethics ; 48(6): 397-400, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207512

ABSTRACT

While COVID-19 has generated a massive burden of illness worldwide, healthcare workers (HCWs) have been disproportionately exposed to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection. During the so-called 'first wave', infection rates among this population group have ranged between 10% and 20%, raising as high as one in every four COVID-19 patients in Spain at the peak of the crisis. Now that many countries are already dealing with new waves of COVID-19 cases, a potential competition between HCW and non-HCW patients for scarce resources can still be a likely clinical scenario. In this paper, we address the question of whether HCW who become ill with COVID-19 should be prioritised in diagnostic, treatment or resource allocation protocols. We will evaluate some of the proposed arguments both in favour and against the prioritisation of HCW and also consider which clinical circumstances might warrant prioritising HCW and why could it be ethically appropriate to do so. We conclude that prioritising HCW's access to protective equipment, diagnostic tests or even prophylactic or therapeutic drug regimes and vaccines might be ethically defensible. However, prioritising HCWs to receive intensive care unit (ICU) beds or ventilators is a much more nuanced decision, in which arguments such as instrumental value or reciprocity might not be enough, and economic and systemic values will need to be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Humans , New York , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Camb Q Healthc Ethics ; 30(2): 215-221, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1203376

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 Pandemic a stress test for clinical medicine and medical ethics, with a confluence over questions of the proportionality of resuscitation. Drawing upon his experience as a clinical ethicist during the surge in New York City during the Spring of 2020, the author considers how attitudes regarding resuscitation have evolved since the inception of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders decades ago. Sharing a personal narrative about a DNR quandry he encountered as a medical intern, the author considers the balance of patient rights versus clinical discretion, warning about the risk of resurgent physician paternalism dressed up in the guise of a public health crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Paternalism , Patient Rights , Resuscitation Orders/ethics , Ethicists/history , Ethics, Medical/history , History, 20th Century , Humans , Medical Futility/ethics , New York , Resuscitation Orders/legislation & jurisprudence
7.
Crit Care Med ; 49(4): e470-e471, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140019
8.
Acad Psychiatry ; 45(5): 552-556, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1111390
9.
The Journal of clinical ethics ; 31(3):219-227, 2020.
Article in English | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-705604

ABSTRACT

When the COVID-19 surge hit New York City hospitals, the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College, and our affiliated ethics consultation services, faced waves of ethical issues sweeping forward with intensity and urgency. In this article, we describe our experience over an eight-week period (16 March through 10 May 2020), and describe three types of services: clinical ethics consultation (CEC);service practice communications/interventions (SPCI);and organizational ethics advisement (OEA). We tell this narrative through the prism of time, describing the evolution of ethical issues and trends as the pandemic unfolded. We delineate three phases: anticipation and preparation, crisis management, and reflection and adjustment. The first phase focused predominantly on ways to address impending resource shortages and to plan for remote ethics consultation, and CECs focused on code status discussions with surrogates. The second phase was characterized by the dramatic convergence of a rapid increase in the number of critically ill patients, a growing scarcity of resources, and the reassignment/redeployment of staff outside their specialty areas. The third phase was characterized by the recognition that while the worst of the crisis was waning, its medium- and long-term consequences continued to pose immense challenges. We note that there were times during the crisis that serving in the role of clinical ethics consultant created a sense of dis-ease as novel as the coronavirus itself. In retrospect we learned that our activities far exceeded the familiar terrain of clinical ethics consultation and extended into other spheres of organizational life in novel ways that were unanticipated before this pandemic. To that end, we defined and categorized a middle level of ethics consultation, which we have termed service practice communication intervention (SPCI). This is an underappreciated dimension of the work that ethics consult services are capable of in times of crisis. We believe that the pandemic has revealed the many enduring ways that ethics consultation services can more robustly contribute to the ethical life of their institutions moving forward.

10.
The Journal of clinical ethics ; 31(3):228-232, 2020.
Article in English | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-705215

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic that struck New York City in the spring of 2020 was a natural experiment for the clinical ethics services of NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP). Two distinct teams at NYP's flagship academic medical centers-at NYP/Columbia University Medical Center (Columbia) and NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center (Weill Cornell)-were faced with the same pandemic and operated under the same institutional rules. Each campus used time as an heuristic to analyze our collective response. The Columbia team compares consults during the pandemic with the same period during the year prior. The Weill Cornell service describes the phases of the pandemic to depict its temporal evolution and subsequent ethical challenges. Both sites report that the predominant ethical challenges centered around end-of-life decision making, setting goals of care, and medical futility, all complicated by resource allocation questions and the ambiguity of state law under crisis standards of care. The Columbia campus saw a statistically significant increase in ethics consultations provided to Hispanic patients, perhaps reflective of the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 suffered by this demographic. While Weill Cornell and Columbia saw a surge in clinical ethics consultations, the two services assumed a more expansive role than one normally played in institutional life. Serving as intermediaries between frontline clinicians and senior hospital administrators, consultants provided critical intelligence to hospital leadership about the evolution of the pandemic, disseminated information to clinicians, and attended to the moral distress of colleagues who were asked to provide care under truly extraordinary circumstances. The COVID-19 surge in New York City revealed latent capabilities in ethics consultation that may prove useful to the broader clinical ethics community as it responds to the current pandemic and reconceptualizes its potential for future service.

11.
Hastings Cent Rep ; 50(3): 28-32, 2020 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-619446

ABSTRACT

In this essay, we suggest practical ways to shift the framing of crisis standards of care toward disability justice. We elaborate on the vision statement provided in the 2010 Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine) "Summary of Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations," which emphasizes fairness; equitable processes; community and provider engagement, education, and communication; and the rule of law. We argue that interpreting these elements through disability justice entails a commitment to both distributive and recognitive justice. The disability rights movement's demand "Nothing about us, without us" requires substantive inclusion of disabled people in decision-making related to their interests, including in crisis planning before, during, and after a pandemic like Covid-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disabled Persons , Health Equity/ethics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Social Justice/ethics , Standard of Care/ethics , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communication , Health Equity/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Justice/legislation & jurisprudence , Standard of Care/legislation & jurisprudence
12.
Hastings Cent Rep ; 50(3): 50-53, 2020 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-619245

ABSTRACT

When confronted by the novel ethical challenges posed by a pandemic, it is helpful to turn to history for guidance and direction. In this essay, the author revisits Thucydides's description of the Plague of Athens from The Peloponnesian War as he considers the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law's 2015 guidelines on ventilator allocation. Confronted by the exigencies of the Covid-19 surge that struck New York, he questions the task force's decision not to give any degree of preference to health care workers who might become ill. He posits that they are due a compensatory ethic and some deference given the risks they have assumed, often with inadequate protective gear. Reflecting on his ambivalence, he asks if his change of heart reflects the impact of experiential learning or the erosion of nomos-or governing norms-described by Thucydides when the plague struck Athens.


Subject(s)
Bioethical Issues , Clinical Protocols/standards , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Greece/epidemiology , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , Plague/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
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