Valuing lives: Allocating scarce medical resources during a public health emergency and the Americans with Disabilities Act (perspective)
AbstractPublic health emergencies from natural disasters, infection, and man-made threats can present ethically or legally challenging questions about who will receive scarce resources. Federal and state governments have offered little guidance on how to prioritize distribution of limited resources. Several allocation proposals have appeared in the medical literature, but components of the proposed approaches violate federal antidiscrimination laws and ethical principles about fair treatment. Further planning efforts are needed to develop practical allocation guidelines that comport with antidiscrimination laws and the moral commitment to equal access reflected in those laws.