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Triage of critical care resources in COVID-19: a stronger role for justice
  1. Lynette Reid
  1. Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lynette Reid, Bioethics, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS B3H 4R2, Nova Scotia, Canada; lynette.reid{at}


Some ethicists assert that there is a consensus that maximising medical outcomes takes precedence as a principle of resource allocation in emergency triage of absolutely scarce resources. But the nature of the current severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 pandemic and the history of debate about balancing equity and efficiency in resource allocation do not support this assertion. I distinguish a number of concerns with justice and balancing considerations that should play a role in critical care triage policy, focusing on discrimination and on fundamental egalitarian and social justice concerns.

  • resource allocation
  • distributive justice
  • public health ethics

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  • 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; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work;