Italy in a Time of Emergency and Scarce Resources: The Need for Embedding Ethical Reflection in Social and Clinical Settings

J Clin Ethics. Spring 2020;31(1):92-94.


The COVID-19 virus is severely testing the Italian healthcare system, as the requests for intensive treatment are greater than the real capacity of the system to receive patients. Given this emergency situation, it follows that citizens are limited in their freedom of movement in order to limit infection, and that in hospitals a significant number of critical situations must be faced. This brief contribution aims to offer a reflection on the public and clinical role of the bioethicist: a figure able to promote dialogue between the world of medicine and the community, and to face ethical dilemmas even in emergent clinical settings.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections* / transmission
  • Critical Care
  • Decision Making / ethics*
  • Delivery of Health Care* / ethics
  • Ethicists*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Morals*
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / transmission
  • Professional Role*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surge Capacity