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Allocation of scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic: a Jewish ethical perspective
  1. Amy Solnica1,2,
  2. Leonid Barski3,4,
  3. Alan Jotkowitz3,4
  1. 1 Henrietta Szold School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
  2. 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
  3. 3 Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
  4. 4 Department of Medicine, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer Sheva, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Amy Solnica, Henrietta Szold School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91120, Israel; amysolnica{at}


The novel COVID-19 pandemic has placed medical triage decision-making in the spotlight. As life-saving ventilators become scarce, clinicians are being forced to allocate scarce resources in even the wealthiest countries. The pervasiveness of air travel and high rate of transmission has caused this pandemic to spread swiftly throughout the world. Ethical triage decisions are commonly based on the utilitarian approach of maximising total benefits and life expectancy. We present triage guidelines from Italy, USA and the UK as well as the Jewish ethical prospective on medical triage. The Jewish tradition also recognises the utilitarian approach but there is disagreement between the rabbis whether human discretion has any role in the allocation of scarce resources and triage decision-making.

  • allocation of health care resources
  • ethics
  • resource allocation
  • religious ethics

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  • Contributors Each of the authors contributed significantly to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work

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