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J Gen Intern Med ; 36(7): 2094-2099, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217470


The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped health care delivery for all patients but has distinctly affected the most marginalized people in society. Incarcerated patients are both more likely to be infected and more likely to die from COVID-19. There is a paucity of guidance for the care of incarcerated patients hospitalized with COVID-19. This article will discuss how patient privacy, adequate communication, and advance care planning are rights that incarcerated patients may not experience during this pandemic. We highlight the role of compassionate release and note how COVID-19 may affect this prospect. A number of pragmatic recommendations are made to attenuate the discrepancy in hospital care experienced by those admitted from prisons and jails. Physicians must be familiar with the relevant hospital policies, be prepared to adapt their practices in order to overcome barriers to care, such as continuous shackling, and advocate to change these policies when they conflict with patient care. Stigma, isolation, and concerns over staff safety are shared experiences for COVID-19 and incarcerated patients, but incarcerated patients have been experiencing this treatment long before the current pandemic. It is crucial that the internist demand the equitable care that we seek for all our patients.

COVID-19 , Prisoners , Humans , Pandemics , Prisons , SARS-CoV-2