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Ethics of Triage in the Event of an Influenza Pandemic

  • James Tabery, Charles W. Mackett and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Pandemic Influenza Task Force's Triage Review Board

Abstract

The prospect of a severe influenza pandemic poses a daunting public health threat to hospitals and the public they serve. The event of a severe influenza pandemic will put hospitals under extreme stress; only so many beds, ventilators, nurses, and physicians will be available, and it is likely that more patients will require medical attention than can be completely treated. Triage is the process of sorting patients in a time of crisis to determine who receives what level of medical attention. How will hospitals sort patients to determine priority for treatment? What criteria will be used? Who will develop these criteria? This article formulates an answer to these questions by constructing a conceptual framework for anticipating and responding to the ethical issues raised by triage in the event of a severe influenza pandemic. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2:114–118)

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to James Tabery, PhD, Department of Philosophy and Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112(e-mail: tabery@philosophy.utah.edu).

References

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Keywords

Ethics of Triage in the Event of an Influenza Pandemic

  • James Tabery, Charles W. Mackett and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Pandemic Influenza Task Force's Triage Review Board

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