Michael Hickson was a 46-year-old African American resident of Texas, a quadriplegic with a brain injury. Despite these challenges, he was leading a fulfilling life with his family. Then he contracted COVID-19.
Over the objections of his wife, doctors at a Texas hospital refused to treat Hickson, stating that lifesaving care wouldn’t be justified because his underlying disability would provide a “poor quality of life.” He was never given a chance to recover and instead he was starved to death.
Hickson’s tragic death was preventable but for a medicalized and biased view of disability that concluded his life didn’t matter.
The unprecedented scale of the COVID-19 pandemic can provide critical lessons to ensure that patients like Michael Hickson are not discriminated against based on their disability or age. Understanding the roots of rationed hospital care during the pandemic can help shape the future of ethical health care, such as preventing the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Minnesota.
Read more at the Star Tribune…