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Whose Life is Most Important?

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The Spanish flu of 1918 led to more than 500,000 deaths in this country. What if a pandemic like that were to hit now? Intensive care units are already frequently strained to capacity. If there were a severe pandemic, there wouldn’t be enough resources to go around, like life-saving ventilators. Whose lives should be saved first? Should it be first come, first serve? Should children get priority? Should we remove a ventilator from an ailing patient if a healthier person has a better chance of surviving? Should we treat healthcare workers first? A team of Maryland doctors has asked the public to weigh in on these thorny ethical decisions. 

Guests: Lee Daugherty Biddison, critical care physician and a vice chairwoman in the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins; Eric Toner, an emergency physician and senior associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Andrea no longer works for On The Record.