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עמוד בית
Sat, 25.05.24

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May 2021
Yechiel Michael Barilan

This focus article is a theoretical reflection on the ethics of allocating respirators to patients in circumstances of shortage, especially during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Israel. In this article, respirators are placeholders for similar life-saving modalities in short supply, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines and intensive care unit beds.

In the article, I propose a system of triage for circumstances of scarcity of respirators. The system separates the hopeless from the curable, granting every treatable person a real chance of cure. The scarcity situation eliminates excesses of medicine, and then allocates respirators by a single scale, combining an evidence-based scoring system with risk-proportionate lottery.

The triage proposed embodies continuity and consistency with the healthcare practices in ordinary times. Yet, I suggest two regulatory modifications: one in relation to expediting review of novel and makeshift solutions and the second in relation to mandatory retrospective research on all relevant medical data and standard (as opposed to experimental) interventions that are influenced by the triage

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