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MEDICAL ETHICS
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 107-112

Taoism, bioethics, and the COVID-19 pandemic


Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics, Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Liam C Butchart
Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics, Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Health Science Tower, Level 3, Suite 080, 101 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook, NY
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_77_21

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The stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on health systems internationally has forced difficult decisions concerning the rationing of medical care and has put the bioethical structures that inform those choices under scrutiny. Often, ethical approaches to pandemic circumstances center around utilitarianism, dehumanizing the treatment process and ignoring the plurality of other philosophical doctrines that inform non-Western bioethics, which could be of use in addressing the pandemic. This paper focuses on philosophical Taoism, as developed in the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzi, in order to suggest an alternative approach to medical care when medical capacity is limited, grounded in the concept of wu-wei, or inaction.


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