Ethical interaction of three elements of medicine during COVID-19

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The humanitarian idea underlying this article is to attempt an epidemiological interpretation of the classic Hippocratic triad "Medicine consists of three elements: the disease, the patient and the doctor". In the XIII century, the Syrian doctor Abul-Faraj in his saying: "Look, there are three of us - you, me, and the disease. If you are on my side, it will be easier for the two of us to defeat her. But, if you go over to her side, I alone will not be able to defeat you both" deciphered the magical meaning of these words. For centuries, the fundamental integrity of this formula has been an ethical and professional guarantee of the success of each patient's treatment and the prospect of building a personalized healthcare system. In this particular article, we have searched for new content of three key elements of the textbook aphorism in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. An understanding of the role of the doctor - "I" as the whole complex of efforts aimed at fighting the pandemic. Patient status "You" means the whole society during a pandemic, and even is as a long-term message for the physical, mental, social and geopolitical health of future generations. The meaning of "Disease" should be understood from the perspective of the problems of the entire health system and logistical ignorance, which has become an obstacle to achieving ethical integrity in managing epidemic challenges. The paper shows how adherence to the ethical principles of social responsibility, trust, and solidarity should become the moral accompaniment of the entire complex of sanitary, anti-epidemic, economic, legal, and social technologies that can ensure success in the fight against the pandemic and prevent the development of unjustified risks.

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About the authors

O. I Kubar

Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute

PhD, leading scientific researcher, laboratory for etiologic and control of viral infections, member of the national bioethics committee under Commission ofRussia for UNESCO; ex-member IBC UNESCO


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