On Top of Everything Else, the Pandemic Messed with Our Morals

June 8, 2021

(The Atlantic) – Health-care workers have had it especially hard during the pandemic, triaging who gets access to life-saving medication and reusing personal-protective equipment with the risk of contaminating patients, colleagues, and themselves. But other people have also been forced into unenviable scenarios. Undertakers have had to empty out old graves to make space for more dead bodies. Many of us have wrestled with whether to visit a parent or grandparent given the possibility of exposing them to the virus. In some cases, these situations have left people with what psychologists call “moral injury”—residual feelings of shame, guilt, and disorientation after having violated their own ethical code. Often, moral injury manifests as feelings of betrayal at the leaders and institutions that forced them into making these decisions in the first place, which may lead to behaviors such as substance abuse and social isolation. (Read Full Article)