WHO SHALL LIVE
Is there a moral principle that speaks to ignoring the justice of a situation on the grounds that by doing so we maximize the survival of the fittest?
The attached article provides a realistic view of what doctors are up against, if there is a shortage of ventilators. I would hope that as part of the hospital administration assembled to handle these difficult decisions that in addition to doctors, there will be social workers, psychologists, and clergy to palliate and mitigate the shock families will experience upon knowing that their loved ones are being sacrificed for the “greater good.”
It raises the question whether families will be informed in advance? I doubt a parent would stand by while their child or elderly parent were denied services or disconnected from a life-saving machine, because a board decided that someone else were deemed more likely to benefit from the medical procedure. Is a system just, that denies an advocate to any person, in this case one who would not likely be in a position to respond and appeal?
So, as we look to putting an ethical face on such a decision, we may have to admit that what is being proposed is not just, and therefore outside the moral framework of contemporary social values. I don’t believe we should ignore the point of view of family members in these sorts of decisions. Others may of course see it otherwise.