Medical Ethics During COVID-19

Key issues raised by the pandemic — including how health care and state institutions decide priorities in care, staffing and supply allocation — are explored in a virtual roundtable

As New Jersey’s COVID-19 cases surged, the state’s health care system faced severe challenges to its capacity to provide accepted “standards of care” for all patients.

In response to this unprecedented scenario, hospital ethics committees have been debating doctrines for health care rationing. The state also issued “triage guidelines” to help hospitals determine how to allocate their resources.

Care considerations have ranged from weighing treatment potential given underlying patient conditions to determining who should be prioritized for COVID-19 testing. The debates have raised especially difficult social-justice questions as the pandemic has brought into starker relief disparities in health care services by race and ethnicity.

NJ Spotlight and NJTV News convened a virtual roundtable May 13 with leading medical ethicists to explore these issues.


Hon. Paul W. Armstrong, J.S.C., M.A., J.D., LL.M., (Ret), Senior Policy Fellow and Judge-in-Residence, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University

Nancy Berlinger, PhD, Research Scholar, The Hastings Center

Dr. Adam Jarrett, MS, FACHE, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Holy Name Medical Center

Elizabeth Litten, Esq., Chief Privacy & HIPAA Compliance Officer, Fox Rothschild, LLP



Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight Health Care Reporter