Ethical triage during the COVID-19 pandemic: a toolkit for neurosurgical resource allocation.

Hulsbergen AFC, Eijkholt MM, Balak N, Brennum J, Bolger C, Bohrer AM, Feldman Z, Holsgrove D, Kitchen N, Mathiesen TI, Moojen WA, Samprón N, Sames M, Sandvik U, Tisell M, Broekman MLD

Acta Neurochir (Wien) 162 (7) 1485-1490 [2020-07-00; online 2020-05-14]

The COVID-19 pandemic confronts healthcare workers, including neurosurgeons, with difficult choices regarding which patients to treat. In order to assist ethical triage, this article gives an overview of the main considerations and ethical principles relevant when allocating resources in times of scarcity. We discuss a framework employing four principles: prioritizing the worst off, maximizing benefits, treating patients equally, and promoting instrumental value. We furthermore discuss the role of age and comorbidity in triage and highlight some principles that may seem intuitive but should not form a basis for triage. This overview is presented on behalf of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies and can be used as a toolkit for neurosurgeons faced with ethical dilemmas when triaging patients in times of scarcity.

Type: Review

PubMed 32405671

DOI 10.1007/s00701-020-04375-w

Crossref 10.1007/s00701-020-04375-w

pii: 10.1007/s00701-020-04375-w
pmc: PMC7220806

Publications 9.5.0