March 25, 2020

On rationing (ventilators) (2)

Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19

The four fundamental values for allocating resources, according Ezequiel Emanuel and colleagues are those included in this article:

Maximizing the benefits produced by scarce resources, treating people equally, promoting and rewarding instrumental value, and giving priority to the worst off. Consensus exists that an individual person’s wealth should not determine who lives or dies.
Maximization of benefits can be understood as saving the most individual lives or as saving the most life-years by giving priority to patients likely to survive longest after treatment. Treating people equally could be attempted by random selection, such as a lottery, or by a first-come, first-served allocation. Instrumental value could be promoted by giving priority to those who can save others, or rewarded by giving priority to those who have saved others in the past. And priority to the worst off could be understood as giving priority either to the sickest or to younger people who will have lived the shortest lives if they die untreated.
The proposals for allocation discussed above also recognize that all these ethical values and ways to operationalize them are compelling. No single value is sufficient alone to determine which patients should receive scarce resources.24-33 Hence, fair allocation requires a multivalue ethical framework that can be adapted, depending on the resource and context in question.
Here you'll find some reflections on how to put this into practice.

Eating in pandemic times