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Social needs are a human right

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In April 2020, an ER physician in Toronto, Ari Greenwald, started an online petition to bring tablets and phones to his patients in hospital, because hospitals had imposed strict No Visitor rules to limit the spread of COVID-19. Greenwald said that, “As challenging as this COVID-era of healthcare is for us all, the hardest part of patient care these days is watching patients suffer alone without family and friends at their bedside.”No visitor rules do more than deny patients access to family members’ hugs and companionship. They also deny those families a chance to care for their loved one while they’re in the hospital. Family members can’t hold their hand while they are dying or say good-bye in person and ease their own grief by knowing that they supported their loved one at the end. In lucky cases where the patient has a device in hospital, families get to say good-bye in some fashion online. But, many other families learn through a phone call from a healthcare worker that their loved one has died, without them.No visitor rules, social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine are agonizing for us because we are deeply social creatures. Our social needs may even be more important than our needs for food, water, and shelter. Social needs are a human right.We are so deeply social that meeting our social needs – for decent human contact, acceptance within a community, companionship, loving relations, and interdependent care – is more important than meeting almost every other need we have. The exceptions are our basic need to survive – which the social-distancing orders prioritize – and our need for clean, breathable air. (Hold your nose and close your mouth for two minutes to see if you disagree with how fundamental that need is.)The thought that our social needs are more important than our needs for food, water, shelter, health, education, free movement, free expression, due process, and the rest, is a revisionary one gaining traction amongst social. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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