Early identification and separation of suspected Covid-19 patients at triage is vital to prevent disease transmission in healthcare settings. Triaging is a complex and context-specific process to implement especially where resources are scarce and health systems are fragile. The need to allocate these resources in a consistent, transparent, and equitable manner during the covid-19 pandemic is underpinned by ethical principles among which are utilitarianism and egalitarianism. Considerations of social identities such as age, gender, social class, and medical criteria such as comorbidities and frailty may lead to explicit and implicit bias and attendant discrimination. Theoretical constructs such as narrow social utility and reciprocity may be invoked to justify the prioritisation of healthcare workers (HCWs) infected with Covid-19 despite the pitfalls in the underlying assumptions. As no single framework exists to comprehensively guide the Covid-19 triage process, the establishment of institutional recommendations and policies within which are embedded safety nets for managing the physical, mental, and emotional fallouts on HCWs is critical.
Effa, E. and Otu, A. (2023), "Triaging and Managing Covid – Inequities and Ethical Decision-Making", Ogunyemi, K. and Onaga, A.I. (Ed.) Responsible Management of Shifts in Work Modes – Values for Post Pandemic Sustainability, Volume 2, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 97-107. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-723-720221010
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2023 Emmanuel Effa and Akaninyene Otu