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Title: The challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: how to decide who deserves life-saving medical devices?
Authors: Pinho, Micaela
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic
Scarcity of medical devices
Priority decisions
Fairness judgments
Issue Date: Nov-2020
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Citation: Pinho, M. (2020). The challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: how to decide who deserves life-saving medical devices?. International Journal of Health Governance. doi: 10.1108/IJHG-08-2020-0090. Disponível no Repositório UPT,
Abstract: Purpose – The current COVID-19 pandemic stressed the importance of discussing the problems surrounding the scarcity of healthcare resources. Healthcare rationing has been a constant issue, but in the present pandemic, the need to choose who to treat and who to let die became a pressing reality. What criteria to adopt or what protocol to follow is a difficult challenge politicians face because it involves moral judgments and/or ethical values. As there are multiple ethically permissible criteria to allocate life-saving medical resources and we will all bear the consequences of these rationing decisions, it is important to explore the appropriateness of each of these approaches. Here, the author describes the main rationing criteria proposed in the literature and explores their applicability to an absolute scarcity of resources as the current one. Finally, the author describes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal and proposes some guidelines to ensure a fair allocation of resources. Design/methodology/approach – A literature review was made regarding some rationing protocols, and a qualitative research was followed to collect data regarding the number of daily infected and daily deaths by COVID-19. Findings – Portugal has not, fortunately and so far, been as badly hit by COVID-19 as other European Countries. However a rigorous and explicit protocol is lacking to help health professionals at the frontline to take legitimate rationing decisions. Practical implications – The author contributes for the discussion about life-or-death decisions by proposing some clinical practice lines that may be applied fairly and consistently. Originality/value – This study is the first attempt to emphasize the need to set life-or-death guidelines in Portugal in a public health emergency and to propose some of these guidelines.
ISSN: 2059-4631
Appears in Collections:REMIT – Artigos em Revistas Internacionais / Papers in International Journals

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