Tag Archives: #A-Z April Challenge 2020

Utilitarian Ethics and COVID-19

Utilitarianism: the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people (Merriam Webster online dictionary)

This post is a heavy one but I want to write about it. Here goes:

I recently read in an LA Times Newsletter the latest guidelines put forth from the State Public Health Department about rationing care and ventilators if we are hit with an overwhelming number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. I found some of it disturbing because they put in an addendum about intensive care and ventilators related to age of the patient. It made me want to research the ethics related to this determination. I did find some discussion of ethical guidelines at The National Catholic Bioethics Center which mentioned certain criteria as “unjust and discriminatory: age (e.g., prioritizing “youth”), disability, race.”

LA Times reporting on California Department of Public Health Guidelines for rationing care during COVID-19. Here are some of the guidelines:

‘The Department of Public Health said the guidelines are meant to serve as a framework for healthcare facilities as they shift from regularly providing optimum care for the individual patient to “doing the greatest good for the greatest number” of patients as staff, beds, medication, equipment and other resources become scarce across the state during a crisis, according to the document….An appendix to the guidelines on “ventilator management” calls for hospitals to give patients a priority score and determine who will receive intensive care with a focus on “saving the most lives and saving the most life-years.”….If there are not enough resources to treat all patients with the same score, the guidelines suggest hospitals group patients by age — 12 to 40, 41 to 60, 61 to 75, and older than 75 — and treat younger people first.’

From ‘Summary of Triage Principles and Applications for Catholic Healthcare Organizations‘ by John A. Di Camillo PHD Staff Ethicist (The National Catholic Bioethics Center)

“There must be no unjust discrimination on the basis of age, disability, cognitive function, quality of life, stage of life, or other value-laden or utilitarian criteria reaching beyond short-term clinical prospects of recovery or mortality and certain limited, unbiased, nonclinical criteria when clinical situations are equivalent.”

He states under his triage criteria:

Triage priority levels should not be affected by considerations of long-term survival, “life-years,” life stage considerations, or similar criteria based on considerations extending beyond the short-term crisis period.

And…When clinical considerations among different patients are equivalent, priority may be given rarely on the basis of certain unbiased considerations.

“…the dignity of the human person must continue to be foundational even as the role of the common good comes into sharper focus. It must be recalled that the common good cannot be achieved by disregarding the dignity of the individual, as utilitarian ethics do. The common good, properly understood, upholds the dignity of each individual.” (Di Camillo)

Additional paper by Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Director of Education National Catholic Bioethics Center on ‘Thinking Through the Rationing of Ventilators’

This (below) is where the ideas about rationing with age criteria being included came from:

A Framework for Rationing Ventilators and Critical Care Beds During the COVID-19 Pandemic  by Douglas B. White MD MAS; Bernard Lo MD. This framework was based on the opinion of these two medical ethicists MDs and now being adopted in some states, including mine, and promoted. 

It would be terrible to have to make these decisions to ration ICU beds and equipment. My feeling is we should be sure that there are not ‘unjust and discriminatory’ practices in use.


“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” – John Steinbeck

I have written about the California coastal redwood forests in prior posts. I keep coming back because I love these trees, I love nature, and I love California. I have visited the redwood forest a couple of times and it is truly awe inspiring. We can visit now with virtual tours, videos, and beautiful images. I hope to go and visit them again after we are released from our ‘ stay at home’ orders. For now I have the trees around my house that provide shade and shelter for the birds and squirrels. Here in my part of Southern California there are a lot of Oak trees.  They are protected here and dot the landscape throughout this area and other parts of California.

Drive through Oaks, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, California via New York Public Library

Redwood National and State Parks in located in the northernmost coast of California and approximately 50 miles long from Crescent City to south of Oreck, California.


Maybe this ‘Stay at home’ time will inspire me to get out in the world much more than I have been in recent years. We’ve got to embrace life because, as this terrible crisis makes us so acutely aware, we can’t take life for granted.

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020

Featured image ‘Ancient Coast Redwoods tower above hikers at Simpson Reed Grove Trail’ courtesy of US National Park Service


Santa Monica Mountains National Park- Mountain Lions

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is part of the US National Park system goes from mountains to the sea. The park is home to wildlife including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, quail, dolphins, and much more. There are many challenges to protecting wildlife surrounding our urban area in Southern California. The beautiful mountain lion in the above video, identified as P-56, had to be killed because he was attacking domestic livestock.

We have a Wildlife Bridge planned to help protect Mountain Lions as many have been killed trying to cross the freeways in Southern California.

Mountain lion kitten, p-6 via NPS

Santa Monica Mountain National Park Poppies and Lupine by NPS

Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2020

‘The Blue Marble: The View From Apollo 17’ Dec 7, 1972 via NASA

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020

Rivers Oceans Mountains Deserts and My Backyard

Below are some videos of California nature hosted by Professor Erika Zavaleta, UC Santa Cruz. In the first one she is discussing the Elkhorn Slough ( pronounced like slew, I used to think it was pronounced ‘sluff’).  I have driven by the slough in the past while on trips and did not realize there are sea otters hanging out there too. They are so great to watch.  In the second video she talks about all the different climates in California from West to East. Some beautiful scenery in these videos. The last one is a relaxing video ‘The gentle sound of a Mountain River and Spring Forest’ by TopRelaxMusic on You Tube.




I was out digging around in the backyard again yesterday and heard a Red-tailed hawk overhead and saw a smaller hawk (Cooper’s hawk?) flying above as well. I have been clearing away leaves and some wood sorrel which is a weed that is trying to take over where my woolly thyme should be growing. The African Fern Pines drop a ton of leaves and little round fruit. Some birds and bats may eat the fruit. The leaves do keep the soil moist but they really pile up pretty thick and block the thyme ground cover. I am getting into yard work more and it is physical exercise too. It gets me outside in nature and fresh air. We are still on ‘stay at home’ orders.

I really do like to stay at home a lot in recent years but this is different because of the threat of infection lurking.  It is terrible to know of all the people who are affected and those who have died. It still seems unreal all that has happened. I hope we can get back to normal soon.

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020

Quote For Courage

“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

I will need to call on my courage after the ‘stay at home’ orders are lifted. It has been hard to feel this existential threat. I have decided that I do not want fear to rule my life and prevent me from living fully. (I am not saying that I will ignore the safety recommendations of health officials.)  I want to step back into all of life and leave fear behind.

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill

Featured image ‘Path to Mount Townsend Summit’ by brewbooks on Flickr.com

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020


Optimistic Cautiously

There are reasons to be optimistic about the end of the quarantine as I wrote yesterday. I have decided I am not going to watch even less news right now because it only adds to my stress level. All the blaming repeated over and over. I have always found comfort in nature even in my own backyard. I have found some guided meditation videos from the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MeditOcean) and it is very soothing to watch the ocean or graceful jelly fish gliding around their tank. We need to have some peace in our lives and freedom from fear.

Here’s a Live Cam of a Great Gray Owl nesting via explore.org on You Tube:

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020

Night Will End

” Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”-Victor Hugo

We can begin to see the glimmer of first light before the dawn. Some countries are beginning to let their people go back to work. We have not finished with this epidemic as yet in the US and people are still suffering from it. We are still having many deaths. But I have read the number of cases have started to decrease in many places around the country. So there is hope that we are seeing the beginning of the end.

My state of California is actively planning for the time when we will be able to end our quarantine.  It may not happen for a few months yet. Some states will not be ready at the same time if their infection rates are peaking later. But eventually we will all be ready. We are not sure here in California what this will look like at first. People will probably wear masks in public places and no large gatherings.

From LA Times 4/15/2020:

Easing California’s lockdown

The governor said the stay-at-home mandate can be altered only when the state is able to:
Closely monitor and track potential cases.
Prevent infection of high-risk people.
Prepare hospitals to handle surges.
Develop therapeutics to meet demand.
Ensure schools, businesses and child-care facilities can support social distancing.
Develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again, if necessary.

I find myself upset by the thought of this changed life and that we could be asked to stay home again. People don’t like change in general and we have been going through major change. I don’t want fear to be in control of my life, however. I must find a way to live with all that may be coming and be able to find peace in my life each day.

While saying this I remember that there are people who had to continue to work during the epidemic and provide critical and essentially needed services to us all. They had to face the risk of infection every day. All the health workers, pharmacy, police, firefighters, truck drivers, grocery, delivery, and trash removal. Los Angeles County has created regulations to protect grocery workers and grocery delivery workers.  Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers must be provided to delivery workers. I counted on the delivery workers to bring my groceries for the past couple of weeks. I always thanked them and gave them a tip. Los Angeles County and my local city has provided assistance to those who need help with grocery and pharmacy pick up and delivery.

We will have to look back at all that happened and continue to grieve as well. We have to look how we handled the epidemic and be sure to learn from it.

NPR interview with David Kessler, a grief expert, on the grief associated with Coronavirus pandemic:

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Blogging for A to Z April Challenge 2020

Featured image ‘Dawn in Joshua Tree, California’ by Jessie Eastland on Wikimedia.org


Missing People

Yosemite without people has more animal visitors.

A mini-tour via National Geographic on You Tube:

A longer video for some quiet meditation by Milosh Ktchovitch ‘Amazing Places on Our Planet’ on You Tube:


What Day Is It Anyway?, #WDIIA is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Blogging from A to Z april Challenge 2020




Life Virtually

With many of us under  ‘stay at home’ orders we are using technology to have virtual visits, like Zooming with friends and family.  I have been previewing some virtual ways to visit National Parks, museums, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Relaxing to hear and see the ocean.

Smithsonian Magazine shared 10 Museums You Can Virtually Visit. And here’s more through Google Arts and Culture.

I have definitely been reacting to the stress caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. I have noticed I have decreased energy and concentration. I have read several articles about coping with stress and the importance of self-care.

For instance, it is important to get sleep but what if the stress is causing you to not sleep as well as usual? It can be a vicious cycle. Listening to relaxing music before bed helped me. I have had the problem of waking up during the night as well and staying awake. I worked on not getting upset when I was up in the night and told myself I will go back to sleep in a while. That has helped me. Some suggestions on how to cope with sleep problems.

What Day Is It Anyway, #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Blogging from A-Z April Challenge 2020


Kelp Forrest Meditation

Relaxing video from Monterey Bay Aquarium web cam:

I put it on Full Screen for the best view. Watching the kelp gently swaying in the water is soothing.

Here is a video of really interesting deep sea creatures in Monterey Canyon from the MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) program:


What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2020

*Re-posting  and updated this to get on schedule with A-Z calendar. I recently learned that I am not supposed to post on Sunday for A-Z.