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Key Panel Presses for Clearer Guidance on Who Gets Scarce Resources in Major Medical Disasters

• ProPublica
In its report, the committee said that an overwhelming disaster "will dramatically strain medical resources and could compromise the ability of healthcare professionals to adhere to normal treatment procedures and conventional standards of care." The committee was not talking about day-in, day-out problems. Rather, it referred to crises that come without warning, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, or those that progressively get worse, such as a disease pandemic. ProPublica reported yesterday that state and federal officials are pushing ahead with plans that -- during a severe flu outbreak -- would divert ventilators from certain patients to assure they would be available for patients who may benefit more from them. The committee -- composed of doctors, lawyers and public health officials -- acknowledged that such steps might be necessary but emphasized repeatedly that public input must be sought before any such plan is finalized.

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