If Maryland's Hospitals Become Overwhelmed, How Should Care Be Rationed? | WYPR

If Maryland's Hospitals Become Overwhelmed, How Should Care Be Rationed?

Apr 8, 2020

Credit By Zdenko Zivkovic/Creative Commons

For weeks now, we’ve heard about the importance of “flattening the curve” of Covid-19 to save lives, but also to ensure that medtical institutions do not become overwhelmed. So far, Maryland’s hospitals are not overwhelmed. There is no shortage of ICU beds or ventilators. But if that changes, hospitals may be faced with unthinkable decisions about rationing equipment and  life-saving treatments for patients in their care.

We talk about that today on this edition of Midday on EthicsDr. Jeffrey Kahn is the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He was part of a committee of ethicists, physicians and others who have submitted a plan to Gov. Larry Hogan about how to allocate scarce resources in a time of crisis. Gov. Hogan is expected to issue a directive based on the plan soon. 

Dr. Anita Tarzian is the program coordinator for the Maryland Healthcare Ethics Committee Network at the University of Maryland School of Law. She’s also a professor at the UM School of Nursing. 

In 2017, Dr. Tarzian was one of the experts who created a framework that served as the starting point for the plan that Gov. Hogan is now considering.