Coronavirus quotes. May 16

Dr Susan L. Murray. NEJM, on working in the middle of an Ebola epidemic in 2014

Most health care workers I know are brave people who perform demanding jobs in difficult circumstances. But one of the terrifying things about an outbreak of transmissible disease is that it’s not just our own life and health that we are being asked to put at risk in caring for patients.

We risk being the vector that brings the illness home to the people we love — to our children and partners and parents — and that can be truly terrifying. It is easier to risk our own safety than to threaten the people we care about.

Without support, without proper education, training, and contingency plans in place to help protect health care workers and their families, fear can run riot through a hospital or through a community. If we are not prepared to fight fear and ignorance as actively and as thoughtfully as we fight any other virus, it is possible that fear can do terrible harm to vulnerable people, even in places that never see a single case of infection during an outbreak.

Wesley J. Smith, National Review. On suicides of despair in a time of coronavirus

[NJ Gov.] Murphy was asked Saturday during his daily coronavirus briefing in Trenton if the state will track suicides and consider this when determining how to reopen the state. “I don’t know specifics in terms of tracking suicides, but we have said this: The combination of isolation and now other factors like job losses are having big impacts on folks, there’s no question about it,” the governor said.

So, let me get this straight. If someone is in despair because they lost everything when their business collapsed or had a loved one die from COVID-19, they shouldn’t be able to commit facilitated suicide.

But if they are in despair because they have been diagnosed as terminally ill with COVID-19, they should not only be able to self-terminate, but also, have their suicide facilitated by a doctor under a law signed by Governor Murphy.

No! That’s nonsensical. Governor Murphy should be concerned about preventing all suicides, not just some.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge 

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | ebola, suicide

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