When Catastrophes such as the COVID-19 Pandemic devastate biopsychosocial fabric of our lives, bioethically informed decision-making under conditions of uncertainty becomes more vital than ever. How to avoid toxic resilience and empower bioethical resilience is a question which needs to be asked in a safe space where there is neither blind fear, despair, nor conviction. Asking not only “How do we not die,” but also “How and why do we live,” is not to be obscured by fear-driven tunnel vision. Aesthetics, what is beautiful helps us ask the other two vital questions, “What is true,” and “What is good?” As per the title of the philosopher Hilary Putnam’s book, it promotes realism with a human face. Two recent presentations by Dr. Bursztajn for the Psychiatric Times and the other for the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics address these questions on a national and international level.
Loneliness and isolation in the post-COVID world is likely to be mediated via EPCACE (Extreme Personality Change After A Catastrophic Experience), see How catastrophe can change personality: Why EPCACE is a clinically useful diagnosis in the Psychiatric Times, September 2019. On the other hand, it can be detoxified via shared aesthetics and bioethics which empower morale, creativity and connection. What follows is a thoughtful podcast by a physician, healthcare leader, and former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, who has offered an episode that explores how the increase of loneliness, isolation and demoralization (e.g. now with COVID) can increase morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Frist and one of ABCI’s directors Dr. Churchwell have together focused in an Op-Ed in the Tennessean on examining discrimination and disparities in healthcare which have become all the more apparent during the COVID crisis.