By Chloe Reichel
As 2022 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the top ten most-read articles published on Bill of Health this year.
Browse the list below.
This article is adapted slightly from remarks the author delivered at the 2022 International Neuroethics Society annual meeting on a panel about neurorehabilitation moderated by Dr. Joseph Fins.
By Leslie C. Griffin
I’m a tenured law professor at UNLV. This semester I’m teaching Bioethics and Constitutional Law.
I am healthy, happy, working, and working out.
But I went through hell to be here.
Why? Because twice, doctors told members of my family that due to brain injury, I was about to die. Or if I lived, I would probably live in rehab the rest of my life because I would not be able to work again.
The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD), and the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Programme (DICARP) at McGill Law Faculty are pleased to announce a call for submissions for the following digital symposium hosted by Bill of Health:
By Terri Gerstein
Consider the quiet car. Some Amtrak trains have a designated car for people who want a hushed environment in which to work, read, or sleep. Passengers who want quiet choose the quiet car. People who don’t want quiet sit elsewhere. In short: people want different options for travel, and Amtrak threads the needle, accommodating varying needs.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this same approach could be taken in relation to masking. While the science is clear that universal masking is the best way to reduce the virus’ spread, highly vocal opponents have made masks a thorny subject for political leaders. Mask mandates are gone, at least for now. As such, Amtrak, airlines, public transit, and other transportation companies should provide must-mask options for passengers who need or want them.
By Chloe Reichel and Valerie Gutmann Koch
Since the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers, businesses, and other entities have anticipated litigation around tort claims associated with the novel coronavirus. Early in 2020, scholars here began to grapple with questions of tort liability relating to the pandemic response. However, nearly three years later, it appears that the warnings of a “tidal wave” of lawsuits were vastly overstated.
In this symposium, we asked torts scholars to reflect on questions surrounding whether and how individuals and entities might be held liable for the harms associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly as infection has grown increasingly widespread and COVID mitigations have become more limited or entirely eliminated.
By Jasmine E. Harris
Some have suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic could be a moment of what critical race theorist Derrick Bell called “interest convergence,” where majority interests align with those of a minority group to create a critical moment for social change.
It would be easy to think that interests indeed have converged between disabled and nondisabled people in the United States. From education to employment, modifications deemed “unreasonable” became not only plausible but streamlined with broad support.
By Justin Feldman
The inadequacies of the early U.S. pandemic response are well-rehearsed at this point — the failure to develop tests, distribute personal protective equipment, recommend masks for the general public, protect essential workers, and take swift action to stop the spread.
But to focus on these failures risks forgetting the collective framing and collective policy response that dominated the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. And forgetting that makes it seem as though our current, enormous death toll was inevitable. This dangerously obscures what went wrong and limits our political imagination for the future of the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging crises.
By Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant
Over the course of the pandemic it has been popular to claim that we have “learned lessons from COVID,” as though this plague has spurred a revolution in how we treat illness, debility, and death under capitalism.
Management consulting firm McKinsey, for example, writes that COVID has taught us that “infectious diseases are a whole-of-society issue.” A Yale Medicine bulletin tells us that we successfully learned “everyone is not treated equally, especially in a pandemic.” These bromides reflect the Biden administration’s evaluation of its own efforts; a recent White House report professes to have “successfully put equity at the center of a public health response for the first time in the nation’s history.”
We have learned nothing from COVID. The ongoing death, debility, disability, and immiseration of the pandemic are testament only to a failed political economy that pretends at magnanimity.
By Matt Dowell
Recently, I remotely attended a mask-optional, in-person meeting where campus leaders proudly proclaimed that DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is my college’s “top priority.”
As a disabled faculty member who writes about disability access in higher education, I found myself considering how to make sense of such a statement — how seriously to take such statements, how much to care that such statements are being made.
By Sharona Hoffman
During 2013 and 2014, I endured a very difficult 18 months. Both of my parents died, my mother-in-law died, and my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 55. As I went through all of this, I learned a great deal about getting older, getting sick, facing the end of life, and caregiving. As a result of my personal experiences and my professional background as a Professor of Law and Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, I wrote a book called Aging with a Plan: How a Little Thought Today Can Vastly Improve Your Tomorrow.
The book addresses many legal, financial, medical, social, and other support systems for aging and caregiving. In this article, I discuss the legal documents that every American adult should have. These documents can help ensure that your finances and health care are well-managed as you age and that your wishes will be followed after death.