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St. Bonaventure University

Jandoli Institute explores ethical question about COVID-19 treatment

Aug 03, 2022

A new Jandoli Institute article explores whether hospitals would be morally justified to refuse to treat COVID-19 patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

The article, Should the unvaccinated receive treatment for COVID-19?, was reported and written for the institute’s Hybrid Journalism Project by Alex Gillham, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at St. Bonaventure University; Carole McNall, an assistant professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure; and St. Bonaventure May 2022 graduate Adam Odolil.

The authors interviewed four philosophers with expertise in biomedical ethics to gain insight into decisions to treat unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. All four agreed that hospitals have a responsibility to treat individuals who declined to get vaccinated, then contract COVID-19.

As Phillip Reed, one of the philosophers interviewed for the article, explained, “The task of medicine is to treat patients. It should not be in the business of judging people for their suboptimal lifestyle choices.”

The article is part of a series of essays produced for the Jandoli Institute’s Hybrid Journalism Project in which professors from different disciplines partner with faculty from the Jandoli School to develop and produce news stories

“The goal of the project is for the non-journalism faculty to gain insight into our industry and for the journalism faculty to learn how those with knowledge and expertise in different fields can strengthen our reporting,” Jandoli Institute Executive Director Richard Lee said.

The project is funded by a grant from the Leo E. Keenan Jr. Faculty Development Endowment.

The Jandoli Institute, a part of the Jandoli School of Communication, serves as a forum for academic research, creative ideas and discussion on the intersection between media and democracy.