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Enhancing the fairness of pandemic critical care triage
  1. Jeffrey Kirby
  1. Correspondence to Jeffrey Kirby, Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, C-320, 5849 University Avenue, Halifax, NS B3H 3J3, Canada; jeffrey.kirby{at}


Historically, the triage of temporarily scarce health resources has served narrow utilitarian ends. The recent H1N1 pandemic experience provided an opportunity for expanding the theoretical foundations/understandings of critical care triage in the context of declared infectious pandemics. This paper briefly explores the ethics-related challenges associated with the development of modern critical care triage protocols and provides descriptions of some ‘enhanced fairness’ features which were developed through the use of an inclusive deliberative engagement process by a Canadian provincial Department of Health.

  • Critical care triage
  • pandemic
  • scarce health resources
  • justice
  • vulnerable populations
  • government/criminal justice
  • philosophical ethics
  • philosophy of the health professions

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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