Table 1

General ethical principles governing advanced life support triage processes

ExceptionalityTriage decisions occur in exceptional situations, justified by the current epidemiological context.
Transparency and publicityCriteria for triage should be transparent, public and as commonly shared as possible. The process of triage is responsibility of society as a whole.
TrustTransparency and rationality favour trust among healthcare professionals, those affected by triage decisions (patients and relatives) and society as a whole.
EquityTriage decisions during the epidemic should be applicable to all patients who may require intensive care, not only to patients with COVID-19.
Greatest good for the greatest numberThe greatest possible number of patients should benefit from triage measures. It is necessary to identify which patients combine the most favourable prognosis with ALS and in whom recovery is achievable in the shortest period of time, so that future patients may also benefit from ALS.
Flexibility and temporalityThe proposed rules must be interpreted in every specific clinical situation and should be subject to revision as the epidemic evolves.
  • ALS, advanced life support.