Ethics guidance for the use of scarce resources in the delivery of critical health care during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020)

ethics guidance use scarce resources
  • The COVID-19 pandemic faces governments with the obligation of allocating the greatest possible amount of resources to meet health care needs. However, we may encounter situations in which available resources (such as ventilators or ICU beds) are not sufficient to meet all the needs of the population. This is a morally tragic scenario because we know we should provide treatment to all who need it. In this scenario, we must proceed ethically: since we cannot do everything that we should do, what is the most ethical path of action? Responsible action calls for health authorities to establish criteria for the priority-setting decisions that may be necessary in this scenario.