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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

About Craig Klugman


by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Since mid-March I have been part of my university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, I served on the “Response” task force and that transformed into our “Re-Opening” group. I’ve been working on how do we safely have students in dorms, bring people up and down the elevators in the downtown towers, enforce a mask ban, how to do contact tracing, and more. After months of working on the minutiae of having people on campus I have come to one conclusion, we should not be bringing people back to campus.

Back in March, my university gave 48 hours’ notice to move final exams online and teach the entire Spring Quarter “remotely”.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Tommye Austin is senior vice president and chief nursing officer at University Hospital in San Antonio. Like most Texas hospitals, UH has been hard hit by the pandemic in recent weeks and PPE is in short supply. Nurse Austin created a crafty N95 replacement mask that uses cloth fabric and air conditioning filters. She is passionate about masks and people protecting themselves from COVID-19. She regularly posts on social media and has spoken to the media about face coverings.

In late June, to further help her city and social media followers understand why wearing a mask is so important, Austin made a video of recording of her intubation.…

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This essay is part of a 2-part series on the burdens placed on black faculty in academic bioethics. The second part, by Keisha Ray, Ph.D. can be read by clicking here.

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

During the beginning of the #METOO movement, female academics named those who had harassed them, universities created (or expanded) reporting structures and formed committees to help improve conditions for women on campus, and movements were made to try new ways of working such as restorative justice. Most of this work, however, was done by women, extra work they took on to improve the university environment.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

“What can bioethics do to help with the racial injustice” is a refrain that I wish I heard more in bioethics. When COVID-19 entered the stage, bioethicists—myself included—tripped over each to put out special journal issues, write OpEds, work with the media, set up webinars, and advise governments at all levels. The response from the George Floyd killing and protests against racial injustice have been quieter.

Racism is a health issue. Racism is an ethics issue.

Narrative ethics seeks to understand the stories of a case. Who are the characters? Who is the antagonist and protagonist? What language is used?…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In 2009, after an outbreak of H1N1 flu, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) issued a letter that encouraged all states to begin planning for a pandemic flu. Three years later the IOM expanded their call and asked states to develop crisis standards of care plans. Having worked on the ethical frameworks for pandemic flu for the State of Texas (2010), for crisis standards of care in the state of Illinois (2015), and conducted exercises with the Borough of Brooklyn (2012), these plans considered a number of scenarios from the length of the pandemic, to availability of supplies, to the type of crisis.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In a lawsuit this week, a judge in Cook County (IL) ruled against a suburban that wanted to force the county “to share the addresses of coronavirus patients”. The judge justified the ruling by explaining concerns about keeping privacy and preventing discrimination. The EMS system feels this information is necessary so that “first responders can take adequate precautions”. Hearing about this debate stirred memories of similar debates 35 years ago over whether the names and addresses of HIV positive patients should be publicized. At one point, I recall proposals to put up the names of people with the virus on billboards (though I could not find any historic documents to support this memory).…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Ventilators.

In the last few months, the public airwaves, social media, and the internet have been buzzing about having enough ventilators to support COVID-19 patients. Bioethicists and physicians have worked alongside administrators and elected officials to craft hospital and regional allocation policies in case there are not enough ventilators going around. These plans have been criticized for being ageist, ableist, and unfair.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In a news item reported in Rolling Stone, NPR, and The Houston Chronicle, the medical director of a coastal Texas nursing home used his political connections to get enough hydroxychloroquine to begin his own “observational” trials—minus a control group, minus informed consent, minus informing anyone. The rehab facility holds 135 residents and 42% (56) of them were COVID positive, as well as an additional 31 staff members. Robin Armstrong, physician and medical director called the Lt. governor whom he knows from the Texas Republicans and asked for some of the drug that Trump has touted.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

On March 31, the U.S. Department of Justice put in an order for $60,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that Trump has been pushing as a treatment for COVID-19 (to clarify, it is unproven and has never worked on any other coronavirus). On March 26, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs purchased $40,000 of the same drug.  Sandoz and Bayer donated 30 million doses to the National Stockpile to be given to COVID-19 patients who were not enrolled in clinical trials of the drug.

Trump’s efforts to be a spokesperson for this drug have baffled many and seem to be based on an early study done in France.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A regular flurry of articles demonstrate the high cost that health care providers pay for their work during the time of COVID: Health care workers are being infected with COVID after caring for patients. In New York City, the current epicenter, doctors are being “redeployed” meaning assigned to work in areas outside of their specialty doing procedures they may not have done since med school or may never have done. Some of the most dangerous specialties right now are pulmonology, respiratory therapy, and anesthesia where you basically are getting close to people’s mouths while performing procedures that dislodge the rich fluids in which COVID thrives.  …

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