In “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19” (NEJM) a group of physicians ponders the big question that we were predicted to have to deal with right around now: who lives (with a ventilator) and who dies (because there aren’t enough ventilators; though actually most COVID-19 patients who do get a ventilator will die nonetheless).
They’re silent on the question of whether taxpayers should have priority over convicted felons and undocumented migrants on welfare. They have not considered whether a beloved film actor such as Tom Hanks should be preserved ahead of a merely well-liked tire salesman. Should Eric Yuan, a founding engineer of Webex and the founder of Zoom, tech companies that have enabled Americans to learn and work through the plague times, get priority over a strip mall “massage” parlor manager? The docs can’t say.
But there is one thing that they do know: “Critical Covid-19 interventions — testing, PPE, ICU beds, ventilators, therapeutics, and vaccines — should go first to front-line health care workers and others who care for ill patients…”
In other words, the doctors think that doctors should be #1 for the ventilators!
[Coincidentally, I looked at all of the same issues and came to the conclusion that golden retriever owners should be #1 for the ventilators. After all, a golden who loses her master/mistress/zistress/theiress is more bereft than most other dogs would be.]