Posted on March 24, 2020 at 7:27 AM
By Julian Savulescu and Dominic Wilkinson
Cross-posted from ABC Online
Imagine there are two patients with respiratory failure.
Joan is 40, normally employed with two children and no other health conditions or disabilities. Mary is 80, with severe dementia, in a nursing home.
In the Western world, doctors are gearing up for an explosion of cases of COVID-19 and with a massive shortage of medical resources, including life-saving ventilators, they are likely to be presented with dilemmas of exactly this kind.
It is undeniable that people should have an equal chance when there are sufficient resources.
But when there are limited resources, doctors do take various factors into account.