In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, while many of us remained in the safety of our own homes, frontline healthcare workers faced a sudden influx of patients with the new, highly contagious, life-threatening disease. This undoubtedly caused a great deal of stress among hospital staff. But what exactly were the most difficult aspects from the point of view of the healthcare workers themselves? Researchers from Osaka University have investigated this by conducting a survey of intensive care workers’ experiences in Japan. The results, published this month in Asian Bioethics Review, have revealed a number of ethical and social issues that were particularly challenging, including limited communication and life-sustaining treatment.