The Prioritization of Life-Saving Resources in a Pandemic Surge Crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic is shedding new light on the way patients are treated. In his recently published article, Dr. Jeffrey White discusses the prioritization of life-saving resources in a pandemic surge crisis.  We must not allow brutal utilitarian calculus to sacrifice the principles of trust and equity on the altar of crisis, fear or latent societal ableism.

ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has engendered a national discussion regarding scarce life-saving medical resources. These discussions often turn on allocation, reconfiguration, and reallocation of resources during the surge crisis of a declared emergency. Protocols to address these issues are being widely promulgated. From the standpoint of biomedical ethics, the principal concerns in these discussions should center on duty, justification, legality, and underlying moral standards. In this article the author explores general concepts of prioritization and crisis standards of care, physician duties and the conflict of those duties, the problematic nature of reallocation, and legitimate responses to the extreme absolute scarcity of surge crisis.

Frederick J. White III, M.D., FACC, FCCP, MBA, HCEC-C*

Read the full article at Issues in Law & Medicine…

Scroll to Top