Should Health Care Providers Get Treatment Priority in an Influenza Pandemic?
8 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2010
Date Written: June 25, 2010
The 2009 pandemic of influenza A (H1N1) was relatively mild, but a subsequent outbreak of pandemic influenza could be much worse. According to projections from the Department of Health and Human Services, the potential health consequences of a severe (1918-like) influenza pandemic in the United States could be literally overwhelming: up to 1.9 million deaths; 90 million people sick; 45 million people needing outpatient care; 9.9 million people hospitalized, of whom 1.485 million would need treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU); and 742,500 patients needing mechanical ventilators. Even a less cataclysmic, “moderate” pandemic (like 1958 or 1968) would result in 209,000 deaths; 90 million people sick; 45 million people needing outpatient care; 865,000 people hospitalized, of whom 128,750 would need treatment in an ICU; and 64,875 patients needing mechanical ventilators.
Keywords: bioethics, public health, pandemics, medical ethics, triage, distributive justice, emergency preparedness, medical utility
JEL Classification: K32, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation