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3.
Bioethics ; 36(4): 461-468, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741339

ABSTRACT

Priority for solid organ transplant generally does not consider the underlying cause of the need for transplantation. This paper argues that a distinctive set of factors justify assigning lower priority to willfully unvaccinated individuals who require transplant as a result of suffering from COVID-19. These factors include the personal responsibility of the patients for their own condition and the public outrage likely to ensue if willfully unvaccinated patients receive organs at the expense of vaccinated ones. The paper then proposes a three-prong test for similar deviations from the current allocation standard that incorporates patient responsibility, foreseeability and avoidability, and the frequency of the occurrence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Organ Transplantation , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Care Rationing , Humans , United States
4.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(3): e221744, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739100

ABSTRACT

Importance: Crisis standards of care (CSOC) scores designed to allocate scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate racial disparities in health care. Objective: To analyze the association of a CSOC scoring system with resource prioritization and estimated excess mortality by race, ethnicity, and residence in a socially vulnerable area. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort analysis included adult patients in the intensive care unit during a regional COVID-19 surge from April 13 to May 22, 2020, at 6 hospitals in a health care network in greater Boston, Massachusetts. Participants were scored by acute severity of illness using the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score and chronic severity of illness using comorbidity and life expectancy scores, and only participants with complete scores were included. The score was ordinal, with cutoff points suggested by the Massachusetts guidelines. Exposures: Race, ethnicity, Social Vulnerability Index. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was proportion of patients in the lowest priority score category stratified by self-reported race. Secondary outcomes were discrimination and calibration of the score overall and by race, ethnicity, and neighborhood Social Vulnerability Index. Projected excess deaths were modeled by race, using the priority scoring system and a random lottery. Results: Of 608 patients in the intensive care unit during the study period, 498 had complete data and were included in the analysis; this population had a median (IQR) age of 67 (56-75) years, 191 (38.4%) female participants, 79 (15.9%) Black participants, and 225 patients (45.7%) with COVID-19. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the priority score was 0.79 and was similar across racial groups. Black patients were more likely than others to be in the lowest priority group (12 [15.2%] vs 34 [8.1%]; P = .046). In an exploratory simulation model using the score for ventilator allocation, with only those in the highest priority group receiving ventilators, there were 43.9% excess deaths among Black patients (18 of 41 patients) and 28.6% (58 of 203 patients among all others (P = .05); when the highest and intermediate priority groups received ventilators, there were 4.9% (2 of 41 patients) excess deaths among Black patients and 3.0% (6 of 203) among all others (P = .53). A random lottery resulted in more excess deaths than the score. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, a CSOC priority score resulted in lower prioritization of Black patients to receive scarce resources. A model using a random lottery resulted in more estimated excess deaths overall without improving equity by race. CSOC policies must be evaluated for their potential association with racial disparities in health care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Health Care Rationing/statistics & numerical data , Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data , Standard of Care , Aged , Boston , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Care , Female , Health Priorities , Healthcare Disparities , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Dysfunction Scores , Retrospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index , Vulnerable Populations/statistics & numerical data
5.
Camb Q Healthc Ethics ; 31(2): 247-255, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730229

ABSTRACT

This paper argues that we ought to rethink the harm-reduction prioritization strategy that has shaped early responses to acute resource scarcity (particularly of intensive care unit beds) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some authors have claimed that "[t]here are no egalitarians in a pandemic," it is noted here that many observers and commentators have been deeply concerned about how prioritization policies that proceed on the basis of survival probability may unjustly distribute the burden of mortality and morbidity, even while reducing overall deaths. The paper further argues that there is a general case in favor of an egalitarian approach to medical rationing that has been missed in the ethical commentary so far; egalitarian approaches to resource rationing minimize wrongful harm. This claim is defended against some objections and the paper concludes by explaining why we should consider the possibility that avoiding wrongful harm is more important than avoiding harm simpliciter.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Care Rationing , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Bone Joint J ; 102-B(6): 671-676, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1724736

ABSTRACT

AIMS: The current pandemic caused by COVID-19 is the biggest challenge for national health systems for a century. While most medical resources are allocated to treat COVID-19 patients, several non-COVID-19 medical emergencies still need to be treated, including vertebral fractures and spinal cord compression. The aim of this paper is to report the early experience and an organizational protocol for emergency spinal surgery currently being used in a large metropolitan area by an integrated team of orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. METHODS: An organizational model is presented based on case centralization in hub hospitals and early management of surgical cases to reduce hospital stay. Data from all the patients admitted for emergency spinal surgery from the beginning of the outbreak were prospectively collected and compared to data from patients admitted for the same reason in the same time span in the previous year, and treated by the same integrated team. RESULTS: A total of 19 patients (11 males and eight females, with a mean age of 49.9 years (14 to 83)) were admitted either for vertebral fracture or spinal cord compression in a 19-day period, compared to the ten admitted in the previous year. No COVID-19 patients were treated. The mean time between admission and surgery was 1.7 days, significantly lower than 6.8 days the previous year (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The structural organization and the management protocol we describe allowed us to reduce the time to surgery and ultimately hospital stay, thereby maximizing the already stretched medical resources available. We hope that our early experience can be of value to the medical communities that will soon be in the same emergency situation. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6):671-676.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Models, Organizational , Neurosurgical Procedures , Orthopedic Procedures , Pandemics , Patient Care Team/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral , Spinal Cord Compression/surgery , Spinal Fractures/surgery , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Critical Pathways/organization & administration , Efficiency, Organizational , Emergencies , Female , Health Care Rationing/organization & administration , Hospitals, Urban , Humans , Italy , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care , Prospective Studies , Time-to-Treatment/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
8.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(2): e1009872, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714704

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for children of age five and older in many countries. However, there is an ongoing debate as to whether children should be vaccinated and at what priority. In this work, we use mathematical modeling and optimization to study how vaccine allocations to different age groups effect epidemic outcomes. In particular, we consider the effect of extending vaccination campaigns to include the vaccination of children. When vaccine availability is limited, we consider Pareto-optimal allocations with respect to competing measures of the number of infections and mortality and systematically study the trade-offs among them. In the scenarios considered, when some weight is given to the number of infections, we find that it is optimal to allocate vaccines to adolescents in the age group 10-19, even when they are assumed to be less susceptible than adults. We further find that age group 0-9 is included in the optimal allocation for sufficiently high values of the basic reproduction number.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Health Care Rationing/statistics & numerical data , Mass Vaccination , Models, Statistical , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Mass Vaccination/methods , Mass Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
9.
Acad Med ; 96(12): 1630-1633, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691790

ABSTRACT

Experts have an obligation to make difficult decisions rather than offloading these decisions onto others who may be less well equipped to make them. This commentary considers this obligation through the lens of drafting critical care rationing protocols to address COVID-19-induced scarcity. The author recalls her own experience as a member of multiple groups charged with the generation of protocols for how hospitals and states should ration critical care resources like ventilators and intensive care unit beds, in the event that there would not be enough to go around as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified. She identifies several obvious lessons learned through this process, including the need to combat the pervasive effects of racism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination; to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusion built into the process of drafting rationing protocols; and to embrace transparency, including acknowledging failings and fallibility. She also comes to a more complicated conclusion: Individuals in a position of authority, such as medical ethicists, have a moral obligation to embrace assertion, even when such assertions may well turn out to be wrong. She notes that when the decision-making process is grounded in legitimacy, medical ethics must have the moral courage to embrace fallibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Clinical Decision-Making/ethics , Courage/ethics , Health Care Rationing/ethics , Morals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Acad Med ; 96(12): 1663-1670, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684831

ABSTRACT

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical students were removed from clinical duties and had their education put on hold. Some found novel ways to join efforts to respond to the pandemic. Georgetown University School of Medicine medical students created Medical Supply Drive (MSD or MedSupplyDrive), a 501(c)(3), on March 17, 2020, in response to the national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). This article reviews the formation of a national response to the pandemic, the methods employed to distribute PPE, and the results of MSD's work from March 17, 2020, through June 20, 2020. A focus was placed on equitable distribution, both within local regions and on the national scale, by distinguishing COVID-19 hotspots, including Native American reservations. As of June 20, 2020, over half a million items were donated, with 1,001 deliveries made to 423 hospitals, 182 clinics, 175 long-term care facilities, 25 homeless shelters, 32 public health departments, and 164 other facilities. From 46 states and the District of Columbia, 1,514 individuals volunteered, and 202 signed up as regional coordinators. MSD formed 2 international organizations, MedSupplyDrive UK and MedSupplyDrive Scotland, and established U.S.-based partnerships with 19 different PPE and aid organizations. MSD gained local, national, and international media attention with over 45 interviews conducted about the organization. While the pandemic temporarily disrupted formal medical education, MSD empowered medical students to actively learn about the needs of their communities and organize ways to address them while incorporating these values into their professional identities. The framework that this organization employed also provides a potential model for future disaster relief efforts in times of crisis. MSD hopes to motivate budding physicians to collaborate and play an active role in tackling public health inequities beyond hospitals and within the communities students will one day serve.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Education, Medical/methods , Health Care Rationing/organization & administration , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , Students, Medical , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
13.
J Med Ethics ; 48(2): 136-138, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673475

ABSTRACT

We respond to recent comments on our proposal to improve justice in ventilator triage, in which we used as an example New Jersey's (NJ) publicly available and legally binding Directive Number 2020-03. We agree with Bernard Lo and Doug White that equity implications of triage frameworks should be continually reassessed, which is why we offered six concrete options for improvement, and called for monitoring the consequences of adopted triage models. We disagree with their assessment that we mis-characterised their Model Guidance, as included in the NJ Directive, in ways that undermine our conclusions. They suggest we erroneously described their model as a two-criterion allocation framework; that recognising other operant criterion reveals it 'likely mitigate[s] rather than exacerbate[s] racial disparities during triage', and allege that concerns about inequitable outcomes are 'without evidence'. We highlight two major studies robustly demonstrating why concerns about disparate outcomes are justified. We also show that White and Lo seek to retrospectively-and counterfactually-correct the version of the Model Guideline included in the NJ Directive. However, as our facsimile reproductions show, neither the alleged four-criteria form, nor other key changes, such as dropping the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, are found in the Directive. These points matter because (1) our conclusions hence stand, (2) because the public version of the Model Guidance had not been updated to reduce the risk of inequitable outcomes until June 2021 and (3) NJ's Directive still does not reflect these revisions, and, hence, represents a less equitable version, as acknowledged by its authors. We comment on broader policy implications and call for ways of ensuring accurate, transparent and timely updates for users of high-stakes guidelines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Triage , Health Care Rationing , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Organ Dysfunction Scores , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilators, Mechanical
14.
Am J Nurs ; 122(1): 15-16, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672273
16.
J Med Ethics ; 48(1): 14-18, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594738

ABSTRACT

Scheduling surgical procedures among operating rooms (ORs) is mistakenly regarded as merely a tedious administrative task. However, the growing demand for surgical care and finite hours in a day qualify OR time as a limited resource. Accordingly, the objective of this manuscript is to reframe the process of OR scheduling as an ethical dilemma of allocating scarce medical resources. Recommendations for ethical allocation of OR time-based on both familiar and novel ethical values-are provided for healthcare institutions and individual surgeons.


Subject(s)
Health Care Rationing , Operating Rooms , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Morals , Resource Allocation
17.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260798, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599553

ABSTRACT

Despite remarkable academic efforts, why Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) post-implementation success occurs still remains elusive. A reason for this shortage may be the insufficient addressing of an ERP-specific interior boundary condition, i.e., the multi-stakeholder perspective, in explaining this phenomenon. This issue may entail a gap between how ERP success is supposed to occur and how ERP success may actually occur, leading to theoretical inconsistency when investigating its causal roots. Through a case-based, inductive approach, this manuscript presents an ERP success causal network that embeds the overlooked boundary condition and offers a theoretical explanation of why the most relevant observed causal relationships may occur. The results provide a deeper understanding of the ERP success causal mechanisms and informative managerial suggestions to steer ERP initiatives towards long-haul success.


Subject(s)
Delivery of Health Care, Integrated/organization & administration , Efficiency, Organizational/standards , Financial Management, Hospital/methods , Health Care Rationing/standards , Health Resources/organization & administration , Hospital Information Systems/standards , Resource Allocation/methods , Humans , Planning Techniques , Software
18.
J Bioeth Inq ; 18(4): 621-628, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598709

ABSTRACT

The ever-debated question of triage and allocating the life-saving ventilator during the COVID-19 pandemic has been repeatedly raised and challenged within the ethical community after shortages propelled doctors before life and death decisions (Anderson-Shaw and Zar 2020; Huxtable 2020; Jongepier 2020; Peterson, Largent, and Karlawish 2020). The British Medical Association's ethical guidance highlighted the possibility of an initial surge of patients that would outstrip the health system's ability to deliver care "to existing standards," where utilitarian measures have to be applied, and triage decisions need to maximize "overall benefit" (British Medical Association 2020, 3) In these emergency circumstances, triage that "grades according to their needs and the probable outcomes of intervention" will prioritize or eliminate patients for treatment, and health professionals may be faced with obligations to withhold or withdraw treatments to some patients in favour of others (British Medical Association 2020, 4). This piece is a response and extension to articles published on the manner of involvement for ethics and ethicists in pandemic triage decisions, particularly examining the ability and necessity of establishing triage committees to ameliorate scarce allocation decisions for physicians.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Triage , Health Care Rationing , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Front Public Health ; 9: 753048, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1590788

ABSTRACT

Background: The rapidly growing imbalance between supply and demand for ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the principles for fair allocation of scarce resources. Failing to address public views and concerns on the subject could fuel distrust. The objective of this study was to determine the priorities of the Iranian public toward the fair allocation of ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This anonymous community-based national study was conducted from May 28 to Aug 20, 2020, in Iran. Data were collected via the Google Forms platform, using an online self-administrative questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed participants' assigned prioritization scores for ventilators based on medical and non-medical criteria. To quantify participants' responses on prioritizing ventilator allocation among sub-groups of patients with COVID-19 who need mechanical ventilation scores ranging from -2, very low priority, to +2, very high priority were assigned to each response. Results: Responses of 2,043 participants, 1,189 women, and 1,012 men, were analyzed. The mean (SD) age was 31.1 (9.5), being 32.1 (9.3) among women, and 29.9 (9.6) among men. Among all participants, 274 (13.4%) were healthcare workers. The median of assigned priority score was zero (equal) for gender, age 41-80, nationality, religion, socioeconomic, high-profile governmental position, high-profile occupation, being celebrities, employment status, smoking status, drug abuse, end-stage status, and obesity. The median assigned priority score was +2 (very high priority) for pregnancy, and having <2 years old children. The median assigned priority score was +1 (high priority) for physicians and nurses of patients with COVID-19, patients with nobel research position, those aged <40 years, those with underlying disease, immunocompromise status, and malignancy. Age>80 was the only factor participants assigned -1 (low priority) to. Conclusions: Participants stated that socioeconomic factors, except for age>80, should not be involved in prioritizing mechanical ventilators at the time of resources scarcity. Front-line physicians and nurses of COVID-19 patients, pregnant mothers, mothers who had children under 2 years old were given high priority.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child, Preschool , Female , Health Care Rationing , Humans , Infant , Iran/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Public Opinion , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Ventilators, Mechanical
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