Due to limited resources, one thing we have seen during the coronavirus pandemic is that doctors in some countries have had to decide who receives care and who does not. In other countries, like our own, doctors reported being told to prepare for this inevitability.
There are guidelines in the medical community on prioritizing patients when rationing care. These depend largely on who is most likely to survive, especially when it comes to who gets a ventilator. However, it is not always easy to make that call. Also, when hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, there may be several who show relatively equal chances of survival. How should the decision be made then?
Here is an article by Dr. Robert Klitzman who says that now is the time to start the discussion about how to prioritize some patients over others:
Not everyone agrees that this discussion should take place, though. Dr. Morhaf Al Achkar argues that there should be no policy that would normalize prioritizing one life over another or that could be used to justify making this seem OK. Here is his article:
For this assignment, read both articles carefully then answer the following in a short essay:
1. What is the main claim made in the article written by Dr. Klitzman?
2. What are three criteria that Dr. Klitzman thinks should be used to prioritize some patients over others when rationing care?
3. How does Dr. Klitzman think these decisions should be made and by whom? Why?
4. What is the main claim in the article written by Dr. Al Achkar?
5. What are three reasons that Dr. Al Achkar gives for why we should not write a policy about prioritizing some patients over others?
6. Do you agree more with Dr. Klitzman or Dr. Al Achkar? Explain your answer.