Risk & Resource Allocation in Times of Crisis: Lessons from the Recent Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic raised challenging questions about the allocation of both risk and resources in healthcare: Who should receive priority for scare ECMO machines? When a vaccine is developed, how should the first doses be allocated? How much risk should front-line healthcare workers be expected to endure and should they be compensated with prioritization in care if they become ill? All of these challenging decisions occur against a background of a healthcare system that rations resources, often invisibly and irrationally, in non-pandemic times. This talk will explore some of the ethical challenges in resource allocation raised or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications for the future of healthcare during crisis times.