Against visitor bans: freedom of association, COVID-19 and the hospital ward

Journal of Medical Ethics (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


To ban or significantly restrict visitors for patients in hospital could seem to be simply a sensible and easy precaution to take during a pandemic: a policy that is unpopular, perhaps, and even unfortunate, but not something that wrongs anyone. However, I argue that in fact such restrictions on visitors infringe upon a fundamental right, to freedom of association. While there may still be permissible restrictions on visitors, making the case for these becomes highly demanding. One common way to understand the purpose of the fundamental liberties is as protecting us from interference in a core set of freedoms, even when such interference would be to our benefit or would promote the general good. This reframing of the importance of visitors in terms of a right also has implications for how to run hospitals beyond the pandemic era: it supports a rapid expansion of visitor access and suggests that any decision to significantly restrict visitors ought not be left in the hospital, or hospital trust’s, hands.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,391

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Trans Fat Bans and Human Freedom.David Resnik - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (3):27-32.
Freedom, security, and the COVID-19 pandemic.Josette Anna Maria Daemen - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
Revisiting Relational Pandemic Ethics in Light of the COVID-19 Abortion Bans in the United States.Amy Reed-Sandoval - 2021 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 14 (1):141-156.
Travel bans and COVID-19.Desiree Lim - 2021 - Ethics and Global Politics 14 (2):55-64.
Problem : Maritain on Education for Freedom.Leo R. Ward - 1956 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 30:154.
COVID Reflections.Roger Ward - 2022 - The Pluralist 17 (2):1-3.
Cut the fat! Defending trans fats bans.Nathan Nobis & Molly Gardner - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (3):39 - 40.


Added to PP

8 (#989,013)

6 months
8 (#105,681)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations