Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge (Faculty Page) is a bioethicist and professor of philosophy at the University of Victoria. In 1989, he established the Canadian Medical Association’s Department of Ethics and Legal Affairs.
He was the first expert witness in the field of biomedical ethics recognized by courts in Canada.
The COVID-19 pandemic brings significant pressures to bear on health care providers relating to things like triage, allocation of finite resources and the potential dangers of exposure to a disease without the right protective equipment. In our conversation, Dr. Kluge identifies several of these issues and introduces us to some of the related ethical considerations.
In addition, he points out larger-scale policy issues such as the differences between public and privatized medicine, and how each approach can impact the ability of states to respond to the challenges of a pandemic. We also discuss the modernization of medical records and the way health informatics could become more important in the current environment.
In the course of our conversation, Dr. Kluge points out differences between ethical decisions and emotional decisions, and asks us to contemplate the intense pressures these situations can bring for medical professionals.
He has very clear views about the professional and ethical responsibilities that accompany a career in medicine. By analogy, he invites us to reflect on similar responsibilities that fall to those of us working in law.
- Legal and ethical decision making in a medical context
- Allocation of medical resources
- Differences between public / private health care models
- Ethical obligation of physicians to provide health care if doing so constitutes a danger to self or others
- Special duties and obligations on professions who have an effective monopoly
- Electronic records and health informatics
- Substitute decision-making in a medical context
- Refusal of medical care on the basis of culture or belief
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