Ethical Dilemma involving autonomy and COVID-19 testing


  • Buowari D. Y. Department of Accident and Emergency, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria


COVID-19, Ethical Dilemma, Autonomy, Medical Ethics


Background: In December 2019, an atypical form of pneumonia was discovered in Wuhan, China and it has spread to different parts of the world including Nigeria. Testing for the causative agent which is the severe acute respiratory distress syndrome coronavirus-2 is one of the strategies to contain the pandemic. For some reason, some patients with clinical symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 may refuse to be tested for the disease.
Methodology: A review of studies conducted on COVID-19 testing and ethical dilemma associated with it was done using Google Scholar, PubMed and Cochrane reviews.
Conclusion: Ethical dilemma exists in testing for COVID-19 as some patients may refuse testing even when it is necessary and they present with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. The right to autonomy according to the principles of medical ethics is necessary for every medical consultation but may not be important in pandemics as the person becomes a health threat and harmful to the public.

Additional Files






Most read articles by the same author(s)