A lottery for ventilators? Hospitals prepare for ethical conundrums

The New York report concluded that when multiple patients are equally likely to recover, but there are limited resources to help them, hospitals “utilize ‘random selection’ (e.g., lottery) methods.”

The panel concluded that a lottery was more equitable than treating people on a first-come, first-serve basis, which could disadvantage “those who are of lower socio-economic means who may not have access to information about the pandemic or to reliable transportation, or minority populations who might initially avoid going to a hospital because of distrust of the health care system.”

Given how little ordinary Americans prepare for end-of-life care, the Trump-fanned currents of distrust in science, and the hangover from the false “death panel” narrative of Obamacare, there’s lots that can go wrong in approaching the question of who gets priority for ventilators.