We are now approaching three months of working on the Pandemic and Beyond project; our activities started at breakneck speed, and our work of coordinating, connecting and amplifying Arts and Humanities Covid-19 research is well underway. This blog post provides a brief overview of what we have been doing and looks forward to our plans for the next 21 months.
Covid-19 has forced governments and healthcare workers around the world to make difficult and painful decisions about whose care to prioritise and how. Arts and Humanities researchers provide vital insight and scrutiny into the ethical dimensions of these decisions. In this blog post Dr Vivek Bhatt, Postdoctoral Research Associate for the AHRC-funded project ‘Ensuring Respect for Human Rights in Locked-Down Care Homes’, outlines some of the findings of the Essex Autonomy Project’s work investigating triaging decisions from the perspective of human rights.
By Dr Vivek Bhatt, 10th May 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many hospitals around the world run out of ICU beds and critical supplies such as oxygen, with frontline workers forced to decide who should be prioritised for potentially life-saving treatment. This decision-making process is referred to as ‘triage.’ The practice of triage began during the Napoleonic wars and developed further during the two world wars, with the implementation of systems for sorting and prioritising wounded soldiers for treatment. As recent events have shown, triage decisions are equally difficult, and just as often painstaking, in the context of COVID-19. In Ontario, Canada, a spike in ICU admissions for COVID-19 treatment may soon force doctors to activate triage policies that provide a matrix for deciding who should be allocated the few remaining ICU beds in the province. And hospitals in India, where oxygen is in short supply, have set up ‘war rooms’ in which clinicians try to decide who should be prioritised for ventilation.
Reposted from the AHRC Arts and Minds Blog.
It is a year since the UK government announced the first lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, arts and humanities researchers have contributed significantly to tackling some of the major challenges caused by the pandemic. A new two-year project, The Pandemic and Beyond: The Arts and Humanities Contribution to Covid-19 Research and Recovery, has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s rapid response to Covid-19. Led by Professor Pascale Aebischer and a multi-talented team at the University of Exeter, the project will work with universities across the country who have carried out AHRC-funded research related to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this post, Professor Aebischer shares the team’s plans for the project and how they intend to amplify the impacts of Covid-19 research.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK and the country went into lockdown, new laws were passed at speed, theatres and cinemas went dark, care homes stopped accepting visitors, and a population used to working, exercising and socialising outside the home was asked not to leave their houses or mix with other households. Soon it became apparent that the pandemic was affecting different communities in different ways, with particularly devastating impacts on older people and people with underlying health conditions, communities of African and South Asian descent, and those in frontline jobs and living in cramped conditions. As the death toll rose, families had to deal with not being able to be with their loved ones as they died and not even being able to comfort one another at a funeral. There was a rise in domestic violence, social media began to spread misleading messages and many freelance workers, especially in the creative sector, were left without access to the furlough scheme or any idea of when they might be able to return to work.