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Operating room time as a limited resource: ethical considerations for allocation

Abstract

Scheduling surgical procedures among operating rooms (ORs) is mistakenly regarded as merely a tedious administrative task. However, the growing demand for surgical care and finite hours in a day qualify OR time as a limited resource. Accordingly, the objective of this manuscript is to reframe the process of OR scheduling as an ethical dilemma of allocating scarce medical resources. Recommendations for ethical allocation of OR time—based on both familiar and novel ethical values—are provided for healthcare institutions and individual surgeons.

  • surgery
  • resource allocation
  • clinical ethics
  • applied and professional ethics
  • allocation of health care resources

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